In considering candidates for the first Bob Jurevitz Award, St. Ambrose football coaches sought a player who embodied the skill, determination, dedication and leadership displayed on and off the field by the legendary Fighting Bees player.
They presented a short list of deserving possibilities to the Jurevitz family and Sunday at the St. Ambrose fall sports banquet, the award was presented to a player who personifies those traits.
Defensive back John Michaletti was named the first recipient of the Bob Jurevitz Award. He was presented the honor by Tracey Jurevitz, the widow of the record-setting running back who died three weeks ago after a battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
She was among 13 Jurevitz family members who attended the banquet at the Rogalski Center, calling Michaletti "a perfect fit" as she announced his selection.
"This could have gone to a number of my teammates. There are some outstanding leaders on our football team," said Michaletti, a senior from Rock Island Alleman. "I'm honored to be selected."
Michaletti is acquainted with the oldest of Jurevitz's four children, Mitch, and his friendship with some former Bettendorf High School players on the St. Ambrose team led him to understand the type of person Jurevitz was long before he was chosen for the honor he received Sunday.
"I learned a lot about him, the type of competitor he was, the type of man he was, from talking with those guys and to be associated with someone like Mr. Jurevitz is pretty humbling," Michaletti said.
"This is an award that a lot of football players here will strive for every year with the hard work and dedication they give this program. To be the first one selected is something I'll always remember.''
Fighting Bees coach Mike Magistrelli called Michaletti a deserving recipient of the award which was established this summer.
"John's on-field performance has been good, but his character, leadership and work ethic set an example for others in our program,'' Magistrelli said.
A two-year starter who was among captains of this season's St. Ambrose team, Michaletti played in 25 games and had 136 tackles during his collegiate career.
Michaletti's name will be the first engraved on a plaque which will hang in the lobby of Lee Lohman Arena on the St. Ambrose campus.
Words on the plaque describe the contributions and character of Jurevitz, whose 5,126 rushing yards for the Fighting Bees from 1982-85 were the most career yards by any back ever at the collegiate level in Iowa at the time of his graduation in 1986.
His 64 career touchdowns and the 27 touchdowns he rushed for as a senior in 1985 remain St. Ambrose records. A plaque honoring Jurevitz and his framed No. 44 jersey hang in the Fighting Bees' locker room.