Published: 11/16/1986

The Harry H. Kennedy Award is symbolic of the state's most outstanding scholastic football player.

The late Harry H. Kennedy, for whom the trophy was named, made personal trips to Charleston on many occasions to meet the people who were in charge of the balloting. After his death on Aug. 3, 1963, his nephew, Dwight Kennedy, stepped in to assume his uncle's obligations and held forth until he died on Jan. 2, 1982.

Now Dwight's son, Anthony, and his sister, Mrs. Gale Kennedy Naylor, support the award.

The family's interest in West Virginia comes from Harry Kennedy's residency in Wheeling for a number of years. When he went to New York to live, he became associated with college football's Heisman Trophy and became so impressed that he wanted to do something similar for athletes in West Virginia.

Thus the Kennedy Award was born. One thing the Kennedy Award has done since its introduction to West Virginia athletes has been to inspire most of them not just to improve on their athletic talents, but also to become better students. One of the requirements set down by Kennedy at the outset back in 1947, was that the candidates be judged on their academics as well as their athletic talents.

Ted Kester, the Winfield High School tailback and also a hard-hitting linebacker, had not shown much interest in his books as a freshman. But when he learned that he could not become a complete football star without a good showing in the classrooms he turned almost failing grades as a freshman into a fine 3.56 grade-point
average when he graduated last year. He led Coach Leon McCoy's Winfield Generals to a beautiful 13-0 championship season in Class AA in 1985, swept the Kennedy Award and won a football scholarship to West Virginia University, where he is showing great promise as a future college player.

Not many states offer an honor as distinguished as the Kennedy Award. Winners' names are engraved on a four-foot sculptured trophy, which has been displayed for 30 years at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum.

A gold, regulation-sized football with the proper engraving is provided at cost each year by Charleston's Sport Mart and is
presented to the winner at the Victory Awards Dinner in Morgantown.  It is the major award at the West Virginia Sports Writer Association-sponsored VAD.

As Kennedy wanted it, there is nothing but class connected with this award and that's the way it will continue to be handled.