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Ernest H. Wright Sr. Humanitarian Award
Ted Tollner

He’s a San Diego guy and now he gets one of the San Diego Hall of Champions’ most treasured honors: the Ernest H. Wright Humanitarian Award. Ted Tollner’s coaching résumé shows many stops, but few are more special to him than the ones in San Diego.

He rekindled the buzz to San Diego State football when serving as its head coach from 1994 to 2001. That followed him scheming offensive plays for the San Diego Chargers from 1989 to 1991. But Tollner, 76, is far from a fire-breathing, veins-protruding-from-his-neck coach. He’s more liable to  lend a hand than show a fist. He’s more inclined to offer a positive word to a player than degrade him for getting something wrong.

What’s clear is this: He’s the right choice for the Wright Award. “I am very honored and humbled to receive the Ernie Wright Humanitarian Award,” said Tollner, who was also head coach at the University of Southern California when they won the Rose Bowl in 1984.

“I’m honored because of what Ernie accomplished as an NFL player for 13 years with the Chargers,” Tollner said. “But even more for his involvement in the community, especially the Pro Kids Golf Academy for inner-city youth. I’m humbled to be acknowledged by the Hall of Champions because there are so many individuals who are deserving of this award.”

That’s Tollner: quick to deflect praise, but appreciative when some deservedly comes his way. He’ll take the award, but only with a resolve to keep helping others.