During the April 16 Rotary Club of Tulsa weekly meeting, Trey Walling, chairman of the 2014 Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards, announced that 8-time pro bowler and NFL Arizona Cardinals wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, will be this year’s male recipient at the upcoming Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards.
Larry Fitzgerald was originally selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the first round (third overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft and has started 155 of the 156 games in which he has appeared. He ranks ninth in NFL history in receiving yards per game. Last season he became the youngest player ever to record 800 career catches. Voted to his seventh consecutive (eighth overall) Pro Bowl in 2013, his eight career Pro Bowl selections are tied with Hall of Fame safety Larry Wilson for the most in franchise history. He earned MVP honors in the 2008 Pro Bowl and his eight career TDs represent a Pro Bowl record.
He is a franchise career leader in receptions (846), receiving yards (11,367), receiving TDs (87), total TDs (87), 100-yard receiving games (36) and consecutive games with a reception (149). In Week 12 of the 2013 season vs. Indianapolis, he reached 11,000 career-receiving yards. At 30 years, 85 days old, he became the youngest player in NFL history to reach the career milestone.
He has twice been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week. While playing college football, he was one of the most decorated receivers in Big East Conference history, a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2003, Walter Camp Player-of-the-Year, Biletnikoff Award winner, Columbus Touchdown Club Player of the Year, and unanimous All-America selection as a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh. He was the first player in program history to produce consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
Off the field, Fitzgerald established the Larry Fitzgerald First Down Fund to help kids and their families by funding positive activities for kids across the country. The Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund was established in honor of his mother who passed away from breast cancer in 2003. It supports causes that Larry’s mother held close to her heart, such as the education of urban youth on HIV/AIDS and breast cancer issues. This year he is a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society’s “Crucial Catch” campaign during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
During the off seasons in 2011, 2012 and 2014 Fitzgerald joined other NFL stars taking mission trips to Africa, India, Thailand and the Philippines to support economic development projects and raise awareness of the drought and famine crisis and worked with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to provide hearing aids for disadvantaged children and adults. Plus, having had a number of family members serve in the Armed Forces, Fitzgerald has raised financial support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. military and has joined other NFL players on weeklong NFL/USO tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2013, he was honored as the recipient of the NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award, which was established to honor a leader in the sports industry whose life and family have been touched by cancer, and who encourages cancer research, prevention and treatment through awareness and philanthropy. For his support of children in Arizona, he was honored in 2013 with the Alfredo J. Molina Community Lifetime Award. In 2012 he was one of three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award and recipient of the 14th Annual Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian Award by Pro Football Weekly, an award given to an NFL player whose contributions to the community and charitable organizations are especially outstanding.
This year’s Iba Awards’ keynote speaker is in her eighteenth season as head coach of The University of Oklahoma women’s basketball team and is considered one of the top collegiate coaches in the nation, Sherri Coale. Back by popular demand as master of ceremonies will be Seth Davis, senior writer for Sports Illustrated, in-studio analyst for CBS Sports’ coverage of college basketball and an award-winning writer. The female recipient will soon be announced.