First presented to Tiger football star Jimmy Cellino in 1949, the Kenny Washington Trophy has be awarded ever since to the Lincoln High School varsity football player deemed most outstanding for the year by the team’s coaching staff.
The trophy – a part of the wonderful school history and culture at Lincoln High for over 6 decades – was first presented to Kenny during his halftime retirement ceremonies from professional football on December 12, 1949 at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The day was proclaimed “Kenny Washington Day” by Mayor Fletcher Bowron. It was Kenny’s last game as a member of the Los Angeles Rams.
The trophy was given to Kenny by the Helms Athletic Foundation and presented by Bill Schroeder on behalf of founder Paul Helms. The trophy itself was a collaboration between Kenny Washington and Paul Helms, with Kenny wanting the trophy created with the intention of presenting it to his high school alma mater. Upon receiving the trophy at the retirement ceremony, Kenny immediately presented it to Lincoln High School principal Dr. Thomas M. Riley with the intention that it be a perpetual trophy for the school’s football program. It was given the name “The Kenny Washington Trophy for Football Excellence”.
Shortly after his retirement Kenny Washington later returned to Lincoln – as he would continue to do frequently once his playing days were over – with his uncle Rocky Washington to personally present the trophy for the first time to the late Tiger great Jimmy Cellino.
Kenny’s name also appears on a perpetual trophy given to the U.C.L.A. Bruin Offensive Player of the Year and also on an award presented annually by the National Football League Players Association.