Alexandria Washington Redskins running back Tim Hightower will be on hand as 25 of the city's best high school athletes are honored for their academic and athletic excellence at the 56th annual Alexandria Sportsman's Club Awards dinner May 15 at the Westin Carlyle Hotel.
A 2004 graduate of Episcopal High School, Hightower was a fifth round NFL draft pick out of the University of Richmond and played three seasons for the Arizona Cardinals before being traded to the Washington Redskins prior to the start of the 2011 season.
During his rookie year, Hightower scored the winning touchdown for the Cardinals in their last drive of the 2008 NFC Championship Game to propel Arizona to Super Bowl XLIII over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Also being honored at the event will be Bishop Ireton High School football coach Tony Verducci and longtime area player and coach Dan Lehman. Lehman will be given the club's Hall of Fame Award for his distinguished career following his playing days at George Washington High School while Verducci will be presented with the Coach of the Year award.
“Tony is among the most well organized, passionate and energetic people in the athletic program,” said Bishop Ireton Athletic Director Bill Simmons. “He has turned a program with little history of success before his tenure into a program that is recognized as one of the best programs in the entire state of Virginia.”
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and retired Marine Corps officer, Verducci will enter his sixth year as head coach of the Cardinals' football program. His brother Frank is the offensive line coach and run game coordinator for the University of Florida Gators and brother Tom is the senior baseball writer for Sports Illustrated Magazine.
“Tony is a leader, a great ambassador and tireless worker,” Simmons said. “We are very fortunate to have him as our head coach.”
Lehman was a football, basketball and baseball standout at GW High School in the early 1950s. He played freshman basketball, baseball and varsity soccer at Duke University before transferring to the University of Virginia where he played varsity baseball for two years.
A 1957 UVA graduate, Lehman earned a master's degree in education before embarking on a teaching and coaching career that has spanned more than 55 years. He also had a 30-year career in commercial real estate where his sales exceeded $75 million.
As a coach, Lehman has more than 160 varsity wins. He began his coaching career with Virginia Concrete in Alexandria's Little Major League before moving on to Groveton H.S., W.T. Woodson H.S., Alexandria's American Legion Post 24 Club, Flint Hill H.S., Paul VI H.S. and the Potomac School.
Additionally, he spent 25 years as a high school basketball official and two years as a scout for baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates.
Founded in 1947, the Alexandria Sportsman's Club is a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing local high school athletes for excellence in sports and proficiency in the classroom. In addition to the Athlete of the Year honorees, four scholarships winners and a Sportsman of the Year award will be announced at the dinner.
“It's important to honor these athletes during their high school years, not only for their performance on the field but in the classroom as well,” said ASC president Frank Flaherty. “Our yearly awards dinner is an Alexandria tradition that showcases the best and brightest of the young athletes in our community.”
For tickets or more information on the Alexandria Sportsman's Club and awards dinner, call Frank Flaherty at 703-346-6525 or visit www.alexandriavasports.org.