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SUBMITTED PHOTO Jim Brogna, Scranton Chapter president and UNICO Scranton Foundation; Chris DiMattio, past national president; Lisa Bieri, Piccolo Award Committee; Ann Genett, Piccolo Award Committee; Frank Blasi, Esq., UNICO Scranton Foundation; Melanie Naro, board chair; Cindy Farino, Piccolo Award Committee.

The Scranton Chapter of UNICO National will recognize an outstanding Italian-American male and female student-athlete at the Chapter’s inaugural Brian Piccolo Awards Dinner to be held at Arcaro & Genell Restaurant in Old Forge on Tuesday, May 12, at 6 p.m.

Applicants should be graduating seniors from one of the 14 high schools in Lackawanna County.

Award nominations and information will be sent to all guidance offices as well as available online at

Candidates should exemplify the same qualities and characteristics demonstrated during Brian Piccolo’s life: determination, hard work, integrity, leadership, courage, loyalty, friendship, teamwork, dedication, sense of humor and anti-bias; not simply based on individual athletic achievement.

Brian Piccolo was an outstanding running back for the Chicago Bears in the 1960s. He led the nation in rushing and scoring during his senior season in 1964 for Wake Forest. Named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, he also received more votes for the Heisman trophy than Joe Namath and Gale Sayers. Selected for the Chicago Bears through free agency, Piccolo at first was on special squads. Star tailback Sayers had a knee injury which allowed Piccolo to play in his place. In 1968, Piccolo had his best stats: 123 carries for 450 yards; 291 yards from 23 interceptions and two touchdowns.

Sayers and Piccolo were the first integrated roommates on the Chicago team. Piccolo passed away from an aggressive cancer in 1970 at only 26, leaving a widow and three daughters. James Caan starred as Brian Piccolo in “Brian’s Song” a movie about his young life.

Email inquiries may be sent to Deadline for applicants will be Friday, Feb. 14.

Applications and information for this award may be accessed at