The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

July 16, 2014

WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.

He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

A Parkersburg native, Molinari has played 38 games for the Mountaineers.

Over the past two seasons he has been a first-team member of the Big 12’s All-Academic team.

While doing that he has been involved with many community service and volunteer projects.

He has visited patients at the WVU Children’s Hospital families at Ronald McDonald House, mentored kids at the Parkersburg Boys and Girls Club and worked with the Jeff Hostetler Foundation to shop for Christmas presents for underprivileged children the past two years.

Molinari has also served as a mentor at Stepping Stones, a local group for people with disabilities, travelled to southern part of West Virginia to help the Boy Scouts refurbish community center and athletic fields and worked with Relay for Life.

“Mike Molinari gets it’,” said Donnie Tucker, WVU Athletics Outreach Coordinator. “He is the epitome of a student-athlete. He takes care of his football responsibilities and academics responsibilities and still finds time to get involved with community service/outreach. He is a class young man.”

For 23 years, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team has served as one of the most coveted and prestigious off-the-field honors in college football. The award recognizes players whose charitable involvement and community service contributions stand out among all other student-athletes participating in the sport.

Since its establishment in 1992, the award has existed to pay tribute to the "good" in college football that extends beyond the wins and the losses. While balancing academics and athletics, this select group of student-athletes nominated by their respective colleges and universities has committed their limited free time to having a lasting impact on their communities.

“Year after year, the ‘good works’ associated with this impressive group of student-athletes continue to inspire and raise the bar for future nominees,” said Jim Haskins, president of Allstate’s West Territory and a member of the 2014 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team voting panel. “Allstate is proud to be a part of an award that recognizes the importance of giving back to the communities where we live, work and cheer on game day.”

While heroes emerge on the field each Saturday, this year’s nominees’ heroics extend beyond touchdowns and tackles. From establishing an epilepsy awareness campaign that has touched the lives of more than 100,000 families to founding a book club program to provide at-risk youth with safe and structured after-school activities, the impressive service resumes of these remarkable student-athletes has earned them recognition on a national level.

"It’s great to see all the ‘good works’ these student-athletes are doing at their universities and in their communities," Grant Teaff, AFCA executive director said. "The AFCA is proud to work with Allstate in highlighting the record number of nominees sent in for the 2014 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team."

In order to meet the criteria set forth by Allstate and the AFCA, each player must be actively involved and committed to working with a charitable organization or service group, while maintaining a strong academic standing.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

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