WASHINGTON –At halftime of The Catholic University of America football team's final home game, the Cardinals presented two of its most prestigious awards given by the squad each season; The Anthony J. Bottoni Leadership Award and the Ronnie McManes Award.
2017 graduates Ross Sanford and James Mooney were announced as recipients, respectively, and were presented their awards in front of one of the largest crowds in recent memory. The special ceremony featured President John Garvey, Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Sean Sullivan, Anthony Bottoni's friend and teammate Tim McCarthy and Ronnie McManes' son, Chris.
The Anthony J. Bottoni Leadership Award was established in 2000 to honor the football team's outstanding senior leader. The award is named in honor of Anthony J. Bottoni, a two-year starting right guard for the Cardinals who was passed tragically in December of 1999. Just a month prior, Bottoni helped Catholic win its first league football championship with a 6-0 record in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The 6-foot, 277-pounder played on three consecutive NCAA playoff teams from 1997 to 1999 that went a combined 29-4.
Sanford is a two-time All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference Linebacker who served as a team captain last season. A four-year contributor to the program, he led the team in tackles and was third in the conference as a junior while adding three sacks, nine tackles for loss and two interceptions. Last year he matched his sack totaled, forced two fumbles and recorded seven and a half tackles for loss. He finished his Catholic career with 239 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and five forced turnovers. Additionally, he is a two-time member of the ODAC All-Academic Team.
The Ronnie McManes (mick-maynz) Award was established in 1998 to honor the Cardinal football player who has risen above adversity to excel athletically and academically. The award is named in honor of former Cardinal Coach Ronnie McManes, who in 1965 helped to rejuvenate football at Catholic by becoming the school's first head football coach in 15 years. McManes, who died in 2001, had previously coached football, baseball, basketball and track for the local Metropolitan Police Boys Club. Former University of Notre Dame President, the Reverend Monk Malloy, is among the players he coached.
Mooney is a four-year varsity member of the Catholic Football team that has shown tremendous resilience in the face of hardship. During his the second-to-last game of his junior season, James suffered a serious injury, fracturing and dislocated his ankle. It was an injury that some players do not return from usually takes a year's worth of recovery time. But just nine months later he was back on the field with his teammates, starting the first game against McDaniel in which he made five tackles, including one for loss. He went on to play in all but one game last season, racking up a career-high 35 tackles.
Cardinal fans are encouraged to follow all Catholic Athletics and sign up for "email-alerts" that sends the latest news directly to your phone, tablet or device. You can also get the latest info, live stats and video by downloading the Cardinals Front Row Mobile App! Also, be sure to follow the Cardinals on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!