The Lott Trophy: Making an IMPACT 5

The cast bronze trophy glows under the spotlight, the two grappling football players illuminated. Two men with undeniable talent and a love for the game. But, in taking a closer look, one is clearly set apart from the other. One is fearlessly dominating the other, the full force of his body explosively hitting his opponent. It is none other than Ronnie Lott.

Ronnie Lott’s skills as cornerback and safety are legendary. After getting his start as a star player for USC football, Lott went on to have an impressive career in the NFL. Today, he is regarded as one of the best players in NFL history. It is incredible to think that Lott’s unparalleled physical capabilities are only part of the reason why.

Undoubtedly, Ronnie Lott was a brilliant player. But, he was, and is, an equally brilliant, quality leader with great character both on and off the field. It wasn’t long before someone realized that although Ronnie Lott and other talented football players were honored for their success on the field, awards that equally celebrated character and performance were lacking. This someone happened to be a former 49ers player who played alongside Lott. Inspired by his friend’s consistent sportsmanship, he set out to establish the Lott IMPACT Trophy in his name.

In 2004, the Lott IMPACT Trophy became the first college football award to give equal weight to personal character and athletic performance from a defensive college player. This unique player exemplifies the IMPACT acronym: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community, and Tenacity. Each year, the Lott IMPACT Trophy award is voted on by members of the national media, previous finalists and the board of directors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation. This past year, the IMPACT Player of the Year was awarded to the University of Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, a quality junior who excelled as a linebacker, punt returner and kick returner. In an interview, Peppers recalled, “[I]t was easy to do what the crowd was doing, but I wanted to be different. I wanted to be somebody the guys in my community could look up to.”

The stellar organization behind the Lott IMPACT Trophy is none other than the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation. Led by Charles Hurst and in part by Ronnie Lott, a director, this nonprofit strives to recognize and support the national charities serving America’s youth. Funds are raised for its charitable purposes from events associated with the rewarding of the Lott IMPACT Trophy to the IMPACT Player of the Year. To date, the Foundation has raised and donated more than $1.4 million to charities and general scholarship funds.

The Pacific Club in Newport Beach is home to both the Lott IMPACT Trophy and the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation. It is here where the 49ers teammate of Ronnie Lott’s decided to put his vision for the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation into action and eventually showcase the 50-pound Trophy. Founded in 1981, the Pacific Club has been dedicated to serving the business, social and leisure interests of its members in an elegant setting from the start. Accommodating The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation’s goals couldn’t be more evidence of that.

Aside from housing the Lott IMPACT Trophy and providing a luxurious space for Orange County’s business professionals, The Pacific Club is known for Executive Chef David Martin. Helming all three kitchens at the club, Martin goes the extra mile to satisfy the members’ palates. His technique is classical French, but his affinity for locally sourced, seasonal, and regional ingredients greatly enhances his dishes. Wagyu-grade Zabuton steak, pan-seared Polish-style pierogies and freshly-caught swordfish are just some of Martin’s favorites to create at The Pacific Club.

Now in its 14th year, The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation looks forward to increasingly impacting the lives of kids, both locally and nationally, through social and educational philanthropy projects. As Ronnie Lott once said, “If you can believe it, the mind can achieve it.”

The Pacific Club in Newport Beach is home to both the Lott IMPACT Trophy 
and the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation.