DENVER - John Lynch has too much Denver Broncos inside him, too soft a spot for achieving kids, and too many fond memories of the team’s game-day stadium to let his employment with the San Francisco 49ers stop his scholarship program.
And so the Salute to the Stars Awards Luncheon, the passion of Lynch and his wife Linda, carried on for its 19th consecutive year Friday, and 12th at the stadium where Lynch called home as a Broncos’ hard-hitting safety from 2004-07.
The John Lynch Foundation gave out $188,000 worth of college scholarship to 36 Colorado student-athletes this year, pushing their total endowment to well more than $1 million.
Not bad for a 49ers general manager. When it comes to providing a boost to the future of America, there is no conflict with competitive world of the NFL.
“I think it was raised at one point by someone at the Broncos,’’ said Lynch, who also made a statement about the event’s overall good by wearing a blue shirt and orange tie. “But as usual, John Elway stepped in and Joe Ellis and said, ‘Listen, this is silly. This is about the kids in this community.’ Anything that was awkward, hopefully we got rid of that because I think you see what it is. It’s about these kids and it’s about much more than where I’m working.
“I’m wearing orange because – I’m not a chameleon, and I may work for someone else but the Broncos will always hold a special place in my heart and my family’s hearts.’’
The Lynch Foundation’s selection committee awarded $24,000, Legacy Scholarships each to Mauren Fitzsimmons, Matt Erickson, Bella Olson and Tanner Price.
There were also $5,000 Exceptional Star of the Year Awards presented to Mia Barone, Isabella Woloson, Julian Upton and Dylan Batz. Valor Christian softball coach Dave Atencio was named Coach of the Year.
The keynote speaker at the event was first-year Broncos head coach Vance Joseph, whose messages were “hard work is the life line to success but success is not final.’’ Higher goals must be set and there must be a plan to achieve those goals.
Joseph once set a goal to become an NFL defensive coordinator by the time he was 40 years old and head coach at 43. He became a coordinator at 43 and head coach at 44.
Joseph also referred to a large sign placed prominently in the Broncos’ team meeting room: “Be the Master of your Attitude.’’ He said leadership starts with service and his final message was “success should be measured in your happiness, not the world’s views.’’
“It’s important for me to be in the community,’’ Joseph, the former University of Colorado backup quarterback, said in a pre-speech press gathering. “I’ve been gone from this place about 15 years, but it’s a great place to raise a family. Obviously, with youth sports—I have a 15-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son, so I get it as far as the coaches and the parents commitment. It’s our future. It’s the kids.”