Football player to receive 2019 Chuck Ealey College Undefeated Spirit Award

March 29, 2019 | Athletics, News, Alumni
By Paul Helgren

University of Toledo senior wide receiver Cody Thompson has been named the 2019 recipient of the Chuck Ealey College Undefeated Spirit Award.

Thompson is the 12th Rocket who will receive the prestigious award at the annual Songfest event in Savage Arena Saturday, March 30. He also will be honored at the eighth annual High School Undefeated Spirit Award Ceremony Sunday, March 31, at the ProMedica Steam Plant.

During his career, Thompson was a two-time, first-team All-Mid-American Conference wide receiver for the Rockets. He caught 181 passes for 3,312 yards and a school-record 30 touchdowns. As a senior in 2018, he had 48 receptions for 647 yards and 10 TDs, and was named second-team Academic All-America.

In 2017, Thompson suffered a season-ending injury in what would have been his final campaign with the Rockets. However, because of his injury, he was eligible to play an additional season of college football. After an off-season of rehab, he returned to lead the Rockets in 2018. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in December 2017 and is pursuing a master’s degree in recreation and leisure.

Founded in 2007, the Chuck Ealey Foundation presents the award to the student-athlete who best demonstrates the behaviors of living the undefeated spirit in his or her sport, in the classroom and in the community. Award winners are role models for making good choices and living with an undefeated spirit in everything that they do.

The award also recognizes that behind every person with an undefeated spirit, there are others around them who have instilled this spirit. It is named for Ealey, who was one of the greatest football players in Toledo history. A quarterback, Ealey led the Rockets to a perfect 35-0 record and three Mid-American Conference Championships from 1969 to 1971. His mother, Earline Ealey, is the inspiration behind the award. She lived her life with an undefeated spirit and instilled that spirit in her son. Chuck Ealey has been working to instill the same spirit in his family and everyone around him.

The foundation uses undefeated as an acronym, standing for undefeated, no negativity, determination/desire, encouragement/endurance, faith/focus/fortitude, equality, attitude/actions, tenacity, education and discipline.

The Undefeated Spirit Award has been presented annually at the University’s Songfest as a way to bring together student leaders and student-athletes.

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