Student thrilled to receive Upshaw award
July 18, 2009
Nick Warner, George Whittell High School senior, was awarded the first Gene Upshaw Scholarship on Friday.
It recognizes attributes found within Lake Tahoe-area students reflecting leadership and excellence in sports and academics.
Upshaw died from pancreatic cancer in August. To preserve his memory, the Gene Upshaw Scholarship was created.
The scholarship will be presented each year in conjunction with the annual celebrity golf tournament.
Warner is on the football and baseball teams, along with serving as student body president for the coming school year.
“I’m so proud of you and honored to be here today,” said Terri Upshaw, Gene Upshaw’s widow. “I never thought I’d be sitting here. Gene did all the talking when it came to being in front of the mic.”
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Upshaw was a regular at the American Century Champion-ship. He played for the Oakland Raiders for 15 seasons, was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and then served as National Football League Players Association executive director.
Gary Quinn, director of business development for NBC Sports, said Upshaw was one of his favorite celebrities at the tournament.
Upshaw was the first to greet Quinn at the players’ meeting on Wednesdays, Quinn said.
“(The scholarship is) a nice legacy, and for the locals, and I can’t think of a better person to leave a legacy to,” Quinn said.
NBC allocated $1,000 for the scholarship and Edgewood Companies, which owns Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, matched the amount, for a total of $2,000.
Warner said he was almost speechless when it comes to describing how much the scholarship means to him. Last football season when Upshaw died, Warner remembers the entire league wearing “GU” patches on their uniforms in honor of Upshaw.
“Being a part of remembering your husband is just crazy,” Warner said to Terri Upshaw.
Warner also is playing the same position Upshaw is known for: offensive guard.
When Warner found out his coach wanted him to play offensive guard for the first time, he went home and typed “offensive guard” in the Internet search engine. The first video that popped up was of Upshaw, and Warner watched the video so he knew what his team role would be.
“I want to use that same intensity he had,” Warner said.