George Whittell High School stand-out student athlete, Nic Buccholz was honored Tuesday at the American Century Championship with the 8th annual Gene Upshaw Scholarship award. Started in honor of the former Oakland Raider, NFL Hall of Famer and executive director of the NFL Players Association, Buccholz was selected for exemplifying Upshaw’s defining characteristics of leadership, community service, athletic and academic excellence. The $5,000 college scholarship is funded equally by NBC Sports and Edgewood Companies.
“Gene was a man that never forgot his humble beginnings, and always was about giving back,” said Terri Upshaw, Gene’s widow. “He led by example, young athletes and leaders like Nic (Buccholz) are continuing to emulate the way Gene led his life, and I’m proud and happy to be able to recognize their achievements in his honor.”
Buccholz, a five-sport athlete, graduated this year with a 4.09 grade point average. He plans to study biology at University of Nevada, Reno next year, complete the pre-med course of study and continue to medical school. During his high school career, Buccholz played football, basketball, baseball, golf, and soccer.
“This scholarship means a lot to me because I never thought I could be compared to someone like Gene Upshaw,” Buccholz said. “Gene Upshaw brought what he learned on the field to his real life, and that showed me who I want to be on the field isn’t as important as who I want to be in life.”
Gary Quinn, NBC vice president of programming and owned properties, explained how this scholarship in honor of Upshaw, who played in the American Century Championship for many years, is one of his favorite moments of the golf tournament. Quinn has been involved with the tournament for 23 years.
“When I first started, Gene was so kind to me. I remember him reaching out and saying, ‘Hey, I have to run events on the NFLPA side. Keep your head up. Keep working hard.’” Quinn said. “And I was nobody. We just thought there was no better way to honor his name than to honor and recognize local students, who have exceptional abilities and have worked so hard.”
Bryan Davis, director of marketing at Edgewood Companies, said he was once again impressed with the quality of the student applications.
“Edgewood is proud to support, not only this scholarship, but Whittell and the South Tahoe High School programs,” Davis said. “And Nic’s resume, unbelievable, number one.”