Pennington Wins Vern Smith Award

Updated 12/2/1999

Huntington, W.Va. (Dec. 2) -- Marshall University quarterback Chad Pennington, who earlier this week was honored as the Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year, was named the 1999 Vern Smith Award winner at the MAC football championship banquet on Thursday evening.

The award is emblematic of the best football player in the MAC and is voted on by all 13 MAC head coaches and 26 selected media members representing the league's 13 schools.

Pennington led Marshall to a regular-season record of 11-0 and a national ranking of #11, the highest in school history. Going into Friday's MAC championship game against Western Michigan, Pennington leads the league in passing efficiency (171.8), total offense (326.1 yards per game) and passing yards per game (319.5). He has completed 255-of-374 passes for 3,515 yards, 34 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Pennington leads the nation in passing touchdowns with 34 and he holds the MAC career record for touchdown passes with 97.

Pennington was selected from a pool of 13 players as nominated by each school. The award, named after former University of Toledo Athletics Director Vern Smith in 1987, was originally started in 1982 by the Downtown Athletic Club of Toledo as the Jefferson Award. Others receiving votes for the award include Tim Lester of Western Michigan and tailback Travis Prentice of Miami.

1999 Vern Smith Nominees
Akron			John Eaton (Sr., Free Safety, Wheelersburg, Ohio)
Ball State		Adrian Reese (Sr., Wide Receiver, Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Bowling Green		Brent Martin (Sr., Fullback, Upper Arlington, Ohio)
Buffalo			Drew Haddad (Sr., Wide Receiver, Westlake, Ohio)
Central Michigan	Joe Adam (Sr., Defensive Tackle, Howell, Mich.)
Eastern Michigan	Donald McCall (Sr., Defensive Tackle, Henderson, Nev.)
Kent			Jose Davis (Sr., Quarterback, Bellaire, Ohio)
Marshall		Chad Pennington (Sr., Quarterback, Knoxville, Tenn.)
Miami			Travis Prentice (Sr., Tailback, Louisville, Ky.)
Northern Illinois	Justin McCareins (Jr., Flankerback, Naperville, Ill.)
Ohio			Raynald Ray (Jr., Z-Back, San Antonio, Texas)
Toledo			Jason Lamar (Sr., Linebacker, Ypsilanti, Mich.)
Western Michigan	Tim Lester (Sr., Quarterback, Wheaton, Ill.)

Previous Vern Smith Award Winner
(Jefferson Award from 1982-86)
1998	Travis Prentice, Miami
1997	Randy Moss, Marshall
1996	Brad Maynard, Ball State
1995	Wasean Tait, Toledo
1994	Brian Pruitt, Central Michigan
1993	Mike Neu, Ball State
1992	Erik White, Bowling Green
1991	Erik White, Bowling Green
1990	Jeff Bender, Central Michigan
1989	David Riley, Ball State
1988	Tony Kimbrough, Western Michigan
1987	Eric Wilkerson, Kent
1986	Terry Morris, Miami
1985	Brian McClure, Bowling Green
1984	Brian McClure, Bowling Green
1983	Tim Tyrrell, Northern Illinois
1982 	Ray Bentley, Central Michigan