Heather Huber Fort Campbell Courier
Fort Campbell | April 6, 2018
In the six years since the U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence was created, student athletes from just 84 schools across the country have been named to the top 25 finalist each year. This year, Fort Campbell High School joined that list.
Jack Cogbill, Fort Campbell High School sophomore, was selected as one of the 25 finalists for 2018. Jack was selected for his academic and athletic achievements as well as his service to the community. He has a 4.2 GPA, has competed in both varsity soccer and wrestling and was recognized on the Kentucky High School Athletic Association All Star Team. He is a patrol leader for Boy Scouts of America where he helps with environmental cleanup, community lending library, the Moore’s Cemetery rejuvenation project and the Feed the Valley Food Drive. He also volunteers at the Azalea Trace Nursing Home, helping with patient activities, meal distribution and facility cleanup.
“At the hall we celebrate excellence everywhere, which is one of the values of the U.S. Army,” said George Veras, chief operating officer and executive producer Pro Football Hall of Fame. “Not only do these students excel in sports, but they shine academically and they are outstanding members of their community and community servants.”
Veras said being selected was not only an honor for Jack, but also for the school and the entire Fort Campbell community.
“We aren’t just celebrating the student athletes, but this community – the parents, teachers, coaches, troop leaders and community organizers – all of you that have encouraged, mentored and supported your student,” said Maj. Matt Mount, assistant professor of Military Science at Vanderbilt University. “Today we have come together to not only recognize Jack Cogbill for his community service and athletic accomplishments, but also we are here to encourage his future aspirations.” Mount said the Army as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame celebrates student-athletes for more than their physical prowess. The students selected as finalists for the award excelled academically and showed themselves to be civic-minded.
“True success requires character, a value-based foundation and commitment to reach back and ensure all those who follow are in a better position for future success,” Mount said.
The award for being nominated was presented by Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Anthony Munoz, former Cincinnati Bengal and founder of the Anthony Munoz Foundation.
“It’s interesting, being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the last 20 years,” Munoz said. “It has me reflect a lot on what qualities are in myself. What qualities did I need to become a pro-football hall of famer?”
Commitment, integrity, courage and respect were the qualities that helped lead him to excellence, he said.
“The great Vince Lombardi who coached the Green Bay Packers said ‘Perfection is unattainable, but if you chase perfection you’re going to catch excellence,’” Munoz said just before presenting Jack with a plaque and a nominees’ jacket.
Jack thanked the Army and the Pro Football Hall of Fame for supporting student athletes and military children in general.
“As children of the military we face unique challenges. Our parents have made the decision to serve our country and we, by default, serve with them,” Jack said. “That service comes in many forms, but I can say with confidence the one constant is change.”
He thanked his Family, coaches, guidance counselor, Boy Scout leaders and his friends for their support and encouragement.
“I’m accepting this award on behalf of all military children,” Jack said. “This is only possible because of the collective effort of everyone here today.”
Jack will have to wait until Aug. 4 to find out if he was selected as the winner of the 2018 Award for Excellence and recipient of the $2,500 grant from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He will travel to Canton, Ohio, with his Family for the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week, where he will attend the Hall of Fame Game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Chicago Bears on Aug. 2.
If he wins the scholarship, Jack said he plans to use the money to attend MIT before becoming a pilot in the military. His ultimate goal is to become a crew member of NASA’s Astronaut Corps.
Jack heard about the scholarship from Anthony Shingler, head wrestling coach, while he was on vacation with his Family just about a week before the application deadline. He completed the application sitting in a hotel room.
“It really exemplified the character values that I strive to achieve, which is having integrity and respect and everything that Mr. Munoz said,” he said.
Jack was thrilled when he got the email notifying him that he was one of the top 25 candidates.
“I was so happy I was jumping up and down,” he said.
Jack was humbled by the ceremony celebrating his selection as a finalist for the award.
“This is just spectacular. Everyone coming together and making this work, I’m really grateful for all of them,” he said.
Jack’s parents, Jenny and Col. John Cogbill, 3rd Brigade Combat Team commander, are thrilled for their son.
“It’s really quite an honor for him and something we know he worked really hard at and we’re just really proud of him,” John said. “He’s goal-oriented. He works hard and just has continued to do well. He’s a very resilient young man.”
The Cogbills have tried to model good character to their children and exposed them to different cultures and communities and Jack has soaked up everything they have taught him.
“He’s a little sponge,” John said. “He takes the best, puts it in his kit bag and continues to try to succeed. He’s got a lot of grit. He’s got a lot of determination. I think that pays off.”
Although the Cogbills their son to apply for the award, John said in the end it was all Jack.
“He had to go through the application process in short order, but he turned around a great product and put his best foot forward and he was selected,” John said.
Jenny said they are thankful to the school community for supporting Jack, but she is especially thankful to Stacy Daniels, the guidance counselor who found the award.
“She’s just been really supportive all the way through,” Jenny said.
Daniels encourages all the students to apply for scholarships and awards they qualify for because it gives them a sense of accomplishment to be named winners in their respective areas of achievement.
“We love to see our kids celebrate their accomplishments and we celebrate them loud around here,” she said.
Daniels pointed out three wrestlers who qualified for the scholarship to Shingler, who ensured each student had what they needed to apply.
“It’s a big honor,” Shingler said. “We have a lot of great academic students, so I was on them about [applying].”
During the luncheon following the ceremony, Munoz spoke again about the importance of the school’s support and how impressed he is with Jack’s character. He presented Jack and Fort Campbell High School Principal Kim Butts with signed footballs.