The “father of aerobics” Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper recently was inducted into the National Football Foundation Leadership Hall of Fame at a dinner at the Omni Dallas hotel. The ceremony was part of the festivities surrounding the College Football Playoff championship game at AT&T Stadium.
Big wigs — including Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, former MLB American League commissioner Bobby Brown, Baylor University president and chancellor Ken Starr, Frito-Lay CEO Tom Greco, College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock and Mayor Mike Rawlings — showed up to honor a man who coined the term “aerobics” and whose research has made a huge impact for optimum health and fitness at every stage of life.
“I’m humbled to receive such an honor from the National Football Foundation,” Cooper said. “It’s rewarding to be recognized for inspiring others to achieve their highest level of performance both on and off the field.”
NFF chairman Archie Manning spoke to the crowd about the kind of man Cooper is and why he was a shoo-in for induction.
“Our entire nation owes Dr. Cooper our deepest gratitude,” Manning said. “He has espoused a lifestyle that has benefited everybody — from top athletes to senior citizens who are simply looking for ways to improve their quality of life.”
Staubach presented Cooper with the official Leadership Hall of Fame ring, and former President George W. Bush saluted Cooper via video message. Emcee Brad Sham, sports broadcaster and longtime “Voice of the Cowboys,” also received honors: the Blackie Sherrod Award for his outstanding achievements in broadcasting.
Created in 2013, the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame recognizes the country’s most influential individuals who have ascended to the highest levels of success and exhibited the critical leadership qualities that transcend ordinary enterprises. Previous inductees include George Pyne, former president of IMG Worldwide Sports and Entertainment; Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones; and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.