Paycom Software, Inc. (“Paycom”) (NYSE:PAYC), a leading provider of comprehensive, cloud-based human capital management software delivered as Software as a Service, and the Jim Thorpe Museum and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame (OSHOF) today jointly announced an exclusive sponsorship of the Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to the top defensive back in collegiate football. As a result, the accolade will be named the “Paycom Jim Thorpe Award.”
Now in its 31st year, the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award will be presented at the Home Depot College Football Awards show in December, hosted by ESPN.
“We are honored to partner with the Jim Thorpe Museum and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame to celebrate college football’s most outstanding defensive back,” said Paycom’s founder and CEO, Chad Richison.
In addition to the updated award name, the OSHOF museum exhibit memorializing Thorpe’s legacy will be renamed the “Paycom Jim Thorpe Exhibit.”
“This multiyear partnership with Oklahoma’s largest technology company allows the OSHOF to continue its mission of preserving our sports heritage, while building pride in Oklahoma in the spirit of Jim Thorpe,” said Eddie Griffin, president of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
About the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is presented to the outstanding defensive back in college football each year on ESPN and is the OSHOF’s most distinguished national tribute. Established in 1986, this accolade is based on performance, athletic ability and character.
A preseason watch list is compiled from schools nationwide and then a screening committee of OSHOF members monitors the watch list in order to narrow the roster to 15 semifinalists on the first Monday of November. The committee reconvenes on the Monday after Thanksgiving to select three award finalists, who are submitted to a national panel of more than 50 sportswriters, sportscasters, former players and coaches who vote to determine the winner.
Each December, the three finalists are invited and required to attend the ESPN College Football Awards Show in Atlanta. The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award winner is announced during the live broadcast, along with at least 29 other collegiate football awards. The official award presentation takes place each February at a formal Oklahoma City banquet with more than 800 guests, including past award winners, as well as celebrities and dignitaries.
The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association, which bestows the most prestigious awards in American college football.
History of Jim Thorpe
An Oklahoma original and considered one of the most versatile athletes in sports history, James Francis Thorpe was born in 1887 near Prague, Okla. A child of Sac and Fox and Potawatomi Indian bloodlines, as well as French and Irish roots, Thorpe’s Sac and Fox Indian name, Wa-tha-huk, translates to “the bright path lightning makes as it goes across the sky.”
Jim Thorpe excelled at football, baseball, track and field and was voted best football player and greatest athlete of the first half of the 20th century by the Associated Press and named “Athlete of the Century” in an ABC poll. Thorpe was the first Native American to become an Olympic gold medalist, winning two gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon. A young Dwight Eisenhower, before becoming the 34th president of the United States, played against Thorpe in college and once said, “My memory goes back to Jim Thorpe … he could do anything better than any other football player I ever saw.”
After college, his time as an Olympic athlete and in-between playing professional baseball, Thorpe signed to play professional football with the Canton Bulldogs in 1915 for $250 a game. Canton’s attendance skyrocketed and Thorpe led Canton to several championships.
Off the field, this Oklahoma son was the first president of the organization now known as the NFL, a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was the subject of a biographical film and was immortalized on a U.S. postal stamp. During Thorpe’s later years he focused on Native American issues and sought to procure his tribe’s land holdings from the federal government and formed a casting company to encourage Hollywood studios to cast authentic Native Americans for roles.
About the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame
The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame (OSHOF) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage excellence through sports, academics, health and fitness; preserving our sports heritage while building pride in Oklahoma in the spirit of Jim Thorpe.
Established in 1986, originally as the Jim Thorpe Association, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame’s main goal is to promote Oklahoma, while honoring and recognizing great Oklahomans who have represented the state positively at not only the state level, but also the national and international levels. Each year, the Association honors five to six individuals by inducting them into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. In addition to the Hall of Fame, the OSHOF is nationally recognized for annually awarding the Jim Thorpe Award to the top defensive back in college football and the Warren Spahn Award given annually to the best left-handed pitcher in professional baseball. Throughout the last 31 years, the OSHOF also has been a leading advocate for promoting healthy lifestyles in the school children of Oklahoma. The OSHOF also is proud to give back to the community each year through its Bright Path Youth Programs, including the state’s largest drug-free initiative, Red Ribbon Week.