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LOUISVILLE, KY—On August 20, 2012, the late-Leonard (Lenny) Lyles, University of Louisville football star, NFL defensive back, successful entrepreneur and beloved community leader, was honored by Custom Quality Services of Louisville (CQS) with the creation of the Lenny Lyles Sportsperson of the Year Award. The award will be presented annually to a local sports figure who achieves the highest level of performance in his/her own sport and demonstrates the principles of being a champion for Louisville.
The inaugural award winner will be presented on June 6, 2013 at Papa John’s Brown & Williamson Room.
Local artist Ed Hamilton designed the Lenny Lyles Sportsperson of the Year Award trophy and displayed its clay prototype at the dinner that immediately following the 15th Annual CQS Golf Classic at Wildwood Country Club on August 20. The Louisville Sports Commission, along with a committee comprised of CQS board members, Congressman John Yarmuth and Mayor Greg Fischer, attended the unveiling of the Ed hamilton Trophy Award.
Lyles, who passed away November 20, 2011, was a Louisville Central High graduate who became a four-year starter (1954-57) in football at the University of Louisville where he was a trailblazer in the integration of the Cardinal football program. After earning his degree from U of L in 1958, Lyles went on to a career in the NFL as a defensive back and kick returner for the Baltimore Colts and San Francisco 49ers and helped break pro football’s color barrier as one of the league’s early black players. Lyles was selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1958 draft and spent 10 of his 12 seasons with the Colts, interrupted by a two-year stint with the 49ers in 1959 and ‘60. He was one of six black players with the 1958 Colts who defeated the New York Giants in overtime, 23-17, in that season’s NFL championship game, which is often described as the greatest game in league history.