MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sean Gothier is all smiles as he works the room. This is the culmination of a lot of time and effort over the past year, to put on the Minnesota Football Honors, the marquee event of the National Football Foundation’s Minnesota chapter every year.
And this year is a big one. The milestone 10th year.
“You know, we started this event back at the University of St. Thomas, we had about 125 attendees, now we’re over 1,000 here at the premier stadium in the world — U.S. Bank Stadium,” Gothier said.
This is the first time the event has been held inside U.S. Bank Stadium and it provides quite the backdrop to honor Minnesota’s best.
“Honoring, Minnesota’s best. And what I mean by that is, they’re scholar-athletes, they’re people who have courage, they’re talented, they give back to their community, and that’s what it’s about,” Gothier said.
The awards have come a long way in the last 10 years — especially since, well, 11 years ago, there wasn’t so much as a Minnesota chapter of the National Football Foundation, much less an event of this magnitude.
“So the National Football Foundation, and College Football Hall of Fame, is a national organization and there’s multiple chapters across the states, and when I started, we didn’t have a chapter. When I got into this, my colleague from Chicago said, hey, you need to start a chapter, there’s not one in Minnesota,” Gothier said.
“But starting with 125 people, that was our base, and we just kept building it and building it, the Vikings came on as a presenting sponsor, obviously that brought it to the next level.”
And now, Gothier can’t help but smile at what it’s become.
“This is absolutely an important thing, to folks,” he said. “And it’s important because these are the people — our leaders, our givers, and those who show courage and those who promote teamwork and these are our future leaders, our current leaders, and our future leaders. So it’s critical that we honor them and bring this together in the Minnesota football community. ”