The relentless Rock football family

Published by Madison Williams, Date: November 10, 2021
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As a collegiate athlete, there are multiple awards you can be recognized for that note your community service, athletic talent and academic abilities. The William V. Campbell Award is one of the most prestigious and awarding titles which nominates the top athletes around the United States within multiple divisions. It differs from other awards being that it is inclusive of all divisions within the NCAA. Divisions include NAIA, Divisions I, II and III for nominations; however, Division I is the most common.

The trophy is presented through the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame as a yearly accolade. This is a record-breaking award for The Rock standout Henry Litwin and is adding to his long list of school records.

Slippery Rock football star and wide receiver Litwin is among a prestigious list of nominees and was recently notified that he is a national finalist for the 2021 award. As a part of this recognition Litwin will receive an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship as one of 13 players among finalists. He’s accumulated quite a story, coming in as a walk-on athlete to a now top-ranked football standout and well-rounded genuine teammate.

The former Conneaut Area Senior High football player is in his fifth and final year with The Rock football program, as he is working toward his Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Head Coach Shawn Lutz alongside Litwin’s teammates and family surprised him to announce the good news. Litwin was overwhelmed by the surprise and many smiles were shared during the celebration.

When asked why he believes Litwin is a good contender of the award, Lutz noted how Litwin is a resilient young man.

“He never makes anything about himself, works hard, and is well liked by others on the team. People often look up to him, he is always happy for his team even if it isn’t him scoring the touchdowns.”

Litwin isn’t one of those guys that soaks up the spotlight; he lives for the satisfaction of teamwork and the game of football. As a captain, Litwin isn’t very vocal, rather he leads the team by example.

The Rock football family had 16 senior returners take advantage of their extra year of eligibility and return in the hopes of winning another title. Some graduated and returned to complete a master’s degree, Litwin being one of them.

“All I can say is I’m proud of all these guys for not quitting and coming back to finish their final season,” Lutz said.

The mindset always comes back to the phrase “relentless,” which is often Lutz’s favorite ways of describing his team. “To be relentless someone has to have a very passionate all-out approach,” which he added that Slippery Rock football provides.

“Getting Henry started early and often on catches brings the whole team together. The Rock uses every practice as if it were a game and that speaks to their overall record and continued success over the years,” Lutz said.

However, outside of the football field, Litwin exemplified a man who gave back to his community through the midget football league. Being from a tight-knit and rural area, sports were the center of his hometown. Litwin’s work ethic and willingness to help others both on and off the field earned him the opportunity to be on the list of recipients for the award as well as his 3.66 GPA.

“There’s a lot of individual accolades that he’s rightfully earned,” Lutz said about Litwin.

Similarly, William V. Campbell was an astounding football player in his own right. Throughout his football era he decided his legacy by giving back to the game he loved. The William V. Campbell Trophy is now awarded in his honor to a college football player with a strong balance of academics, volunteer work, athletic statistics as well as performance. Former NFL players Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning are both winners of this distinguished award.

A football captain, coach and businessman, Campbell continued his legacy by awarding each year’s winner with a $25,000 scholarship endowed by The HealthSouth Corporation. The late Campbell was an All-Ivy League student athlete at Columbia University who dedicated his life to coaching football and later becoming a businessman.

The Homestead native and Steel Valley High School graduate gave back to the school where his football career began as well. Campbell donated a free iPad to each student at the school, invested in renovations to the sports facilities as well as a full scholarship for one high school student to Duquesne University.

The trophy for the collegiate award is housed in the New York Athletic Club, in partnership with Fidelity Investments. In its 32 year, finalists will travel to Las Vegas for a dinner celebration on Dec. 7, where the winner of the award will be announced.

Another major category for the William V. Campbell award lies within the athletic ability of the player and team. Slippery Rock checked all the boxes, consecutively winning the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West title with Litwin on board.

This week, The Rock football team will continue their journey to the Championship between the East and West for a battle of the best in the PSAC. Winning this weekend punches a ticket to national qualification round and will only make Litwin’s list of accomplishments greater.

Madison is a junior communication major with a concentration in converged journalism and a minor in sport management. She is an active member of WSRU-TV and is the sports editor of The Rocket. Upon graduation, Madison plans to work in the broadcasting industry and coach volleyball.

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