Former Michigan standout offensive lineman Reggie McKenzie has been named the 2016 recipient of the Big Ten’s Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award.
The award has been presented six times, and former Michigan players have now earned it three times. Brian Griese (2015) and offensive lineman Jon Runyan (2012) also are recipients of the award.
McKenzie has been a community leader in Detroit and Buffalo. He founded the Reggie McKenzie Foundation (RMF), an organization based in Detroit that helps youth with athletics and academics. The foundation is designed to stimulate a desire in children to achieve in school and everyday life through a focus on strong academics, civic responsibility and community service. The foundation regularly recruits and places 15 young men ages 16-22 in summer employment opportunities, educating and training them for future hiring.
While playing in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills, McKenzie was active in community projects with the United Way and Special Olympics. He received the Ralph C. Wilson Distinguished Service Award in 1999, recognizing McKenzie for his long and meritorious service to the Bills organization.
As a student-athlete at Michigan, McKenzie was a three-year letterman (1969-71) and two-year starter at left guard. He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors following the 1970 and 1971 seasons and earned consensus All-America honors as a senior. McKenzie helped the Wolverines play in the Rose Bowl twice (1970 and 1972 games) and received a degree in physical education from Michigan in 1972. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
After graduation, McKenzie played 13 season in the NFL. He was a second-round pick, the 27th overall choice, by the Bills. He started 11 seasons for the Bills (1972-82) and his final two years with the Seattle Seahawks (1983-84). McKenzie started 169 of his 171 career games.
McKenzie was a 1994 inductee into the state of Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and this past year was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.
Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award winners
2011: Archie Griffin, Ohio State
2012: Jon Runyan, Michigan
2013: Gene Washington, Michigan State
2014: Mike Hopkins, Illinois
2015: Brian Griese, Michigan
2016: Reggie McKenzie, Michigan