Gaziano Award

 

Frank J. Gaziano, founder of National Distributors and a former college All American

Former college All American, Frank Gaziano

The Annual Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Award is a scholarship and awards program for Maine high school football players created in memory of National Distributors founder Frank J. Gaziano. Gaziano was a former college All American and professional football player with a life-long passion for local sports.

The annual award is presented to players who epitomize the character, leadership, and perseverance of Gaziano. Recipients are selected by an awards committee based on their strong leadership on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.

Through the awards program, one offensive player and one defensive player are each presented a first place trophy and a scholarship of $5,000, making it the largest scholarship of its kind inf the country. The runners-up each receive a $1,000 scholarship. Each recipient's name is also engraved on a permanent Gaziano trophy featuring a lineman in three point stance. Each year, the trophy is awarded to the winners — the large Gaziano trophy is put on display at the winning lineman's high school. In addition, each of the four selected players receives a commemorative crystal trophy. All six players receive a special Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards leather jacket.

Peter DeSimon, a New England key account manager with PepsiCo., spearheaded the creation of the awards program with the Gaziano family. DeSimon said, “I worked for National Distributors for more than 20 years, and Frank was my mentor. As former football players, we shared a love of the sport. To me, Frank was a true American, building a company and achieving success through hard work and determination. This is my thank you to Frank and the Gaziano family.”

To watch the video recap of the 4th Annual Gaziano Awards, click here.

Applicants are nominated by their coaches. Coaches may nominate any number of players, and nominations from all levels of Maine’s high school football three-class system are eligible.

To qualify for consideration, applicants must be a high school senior, have competed at the varsity level for a minimum of two years, and have an exemplary record of positive athletic and non-athletic citizenship. The submission of a student essay and a game film featuring the applicant competing against his toughest competitor are part of the application process. All finalists will be invited to appear before the awards committee for a personal interview.

National Distributors provides the funding for the $2,500 scholarships. The awards committee also secures sponsorships and sells corporate tables at the awards banquet to increase the sponsorship level in subsequent years. If you are interested in contributing to the scholarship fund, please call (207) 773-1719, ext 3303.

For more information and to download application forms click here.