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NFL Endows Scholarships for Spann, Winters Hometown High Schools

National Guard Bureau

NEW YORK, Feb. 11, 2002 – The National Football League has endowed funds for $10,000 annual scholarships in memory of CIA intelligence officer Johnny "Mike" Spann and Marine Sgt. Jeannette Winters, the first American man and woman killed in Afghanistan.

League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue made the announcement Feb. 2, the day before Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans. Spann died Nov. 25, 2001, during a four-day Taliban prison uprising near Mazar-e Sharif. Winters and six other Marines died Jan. 9, 2002, in the crash of their KC-130R refueler aircraft in Pakistan.

Spann graduated from Winfield High School in Winfield, Ala., and was a running back and wide receiver on the school football team. Winters was a track team member while at Calumet High School in Gary, Ind.

Spann scholarships will benefit high school football players in Marion County, Ala. Winters scholarships will be awarded to female high school athletes in Gary, Ind. Judging criteria for both include demonstrated leadership and a commitment to community service, league officials said.

Representing Spann at the ceremonial announcement was his football coach from Winfield High School, Joe Hubbert. Calumet principal Leroy Miller represented Winters.

"Mike (Spann) thought that young people were the strength of America," Hubbert said. "This is a great honor. The whole community is proud."

"Our school system is definitely excited about this," Miller said. "We have a great number of students who will benefit from the NFL's scholarship in Sgt. Winters' name."

The scholarships were established by Tagliabue and Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Player Association, and pay tribute to the character, courage and commitment Spann and Winters exhibited for America, NFL officials said.

(From the NFL press office)

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