WASHINGTON, D.C. - During halftime of Saturday's game against Merchant Marine, the Catholic University football team presented two of its most prestigious honors, the Anthony J. Bottoni Award and the Ronnie McManes Award, to Pat Vidal '18 and Robbie Walsh '18.
Catholic President, John Garvey, J.D., and Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics, Sean Sullivan, were joined by Anthony's parents, Lou and Alida Bottoni as well as Ronnie's son Chris, former sports information director.
The Anthony J. Bottoni Award was established in 2000 to honor the football team's outstanding senior leader and most valuable player. The award is named in honor of Anthony J. Bottoni, a two-year starter at right guard for the Cardinals who passed away in December 1999. He helped the Cardinals win their first-ever league championship with a perfect 6-0 record in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). He played on three consecutive NCAA playoff teams that went a combined 29-4 from 1997-99.
As a senior in 2017, Vidal ranked fourth in the nation in tackles among all defensive linemen with 82 and was a finalist for the Cliff Harris Award which recognizes the nation's top small college defensive player. He was selected to the National Senior Bowl and was a d3football.com All-Region Third Team and an All-NEWMAC First Team selection. Off the field, he was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team for the second time as a nursing major with a 3.5 grade point average.
The Ronnie McManes Award was established in 1998 to honor a Cardinal football player who has risen above adversity to excel both athletically and academically. The award is named in honor of former coach Ronnie McManes who helped to rejuvenate football at Catholic in 1965 by becoming the University's first head coach in 15 years. He passed away in 2001.
From 2015-17, Walsh played in 23 of the team's 30 despite suffering a broken hand and a broken leg. He played in nine games as a sophomore in 2015, earning the job as the team's starting center on the offensive line. As a junior in 2016, he suffered a broken right hand, but still managed to appear in nine games after teaching himself how to snap the ball with his left hand. That year, he was named to the ODAC All-Academic Team and selected as a team captain for 2017. He started the first seven games of his senior season before suffering a broken leg against Springfield and missing the final three games.
Catholic wraps up the 2018 season at home on Saturday when it welcomes Maine Maritime to Cardinal Stadium on Senior Day. Kickoff is at noon.