Gunnar Esiason, a senior at Friends Academy, received one of New York State high school football’s highest honors: the 2008 12th Man Award. The New York State High School Football Coaches Association awards the honor annually to “a football player who overcame a serious physical injury or disability to contribute to the success of his team during the season.”
The Association chose Mr. Esiason from all of the state’s regional 12th-Man honorees as one of two 2008 overall co-winners in the state. He accepted the award at a dinner in Verona, in February.
“Gunnar has shown tremendous leadership, courage and spirit throughout his career here,” said Friends Academy head football coach Ron Baskind. “He’s also an excellent player whose dedication and work ethic made every one of his teammates better. We’ll miss him next year, but his example will be an inspiration to our team for a long time.” Baskind cited Esiason’s significant contributions both in games and on the practice field.
Mr. Esiason was born with cystic fibrosis, a serious genetic disease affecting the mucus glands of the lungs and other organs. He is the son of former NFL superstar Boomer Esiaison (Cincinati Bengals, New York Jets), who played for East Islip High School and the University of Maryland, and who is now an analyst for The NFL Today on CBS.
Enrolling 750 students from Play Group through grade 12, Friends Academy is an independent Quaker school in Locust Valley, for children ages 3 through twelfth grade. It is guided by its Quaker heritage and the principles of integrity, simplicity, patience, moderation and a peaceful resolution of conflict. The school is located on 65 acres at the intersection of Piping Rock and Duck Pond roads in Locust Valley/Glen Cove.