The story of our organization
The Trench Trophy Award, Inc. provides recognition to football players who predominately play the position of offensive or defensive line for their school’s varsity, interscholastic football program. Schools include those of Section VI of the NYSPHSAA and Monsignor Martin Athletic Conference.
The specific objectives and purpose of the Trench Trophy shall be:
A. To promote sportsmanship, civic responsibility, and scholastic effort by athletes who predominately play football.
B. To provide recognition to football linemen in Western New York state.
C. To provide opportunities for players to be discovered by local, regional, and national intercollegiate football programs.
D. To promote the growth of youth athletics, specifically the sport of football.
"TRENCH TROPHY" was officially established by our committee at our first meeting on August 18, 2003. The name comes from the adage that linemen play "in the trenches."
In 2015 the Trench Trophy Executive Committee made the decision to incorporate as a non-profit organization and apply for tax exempt status under tax code 501(c)(3), thus making the organization independent.
On July 28, 2015, the Trench Trophy Award, Inc. was officially formed and on June 8, 2017, received IRS approval to become tax-exempt.
Carl Kuras was an esteemed coach, educator, administrator, mentor, and devoted family man. His passion for the game of football was instilled in him from an early age, thanks to the influence of his father, Carl Sr., who had played semi-professionally for the Buffalo Bills.
Having graduated from Lancaster High School in 1965, Carl stood out as a remarkable athlete, earning the recognition as ECIC and Courier Express All-Star at both the running back and defensive back positions. In 1963, he was honored with the prestigious Tomahawk Award, a testament to his reputation as the team's most ferocious hitter. Following his high school journey, Carl enrolled at Brockport University, where he continued to pursue his football career while working towards his Bachelor of Science degree, which he achieved in 1969. Subsequently, he obtained a master's degree in education.
Even after his college years, Carl continued his football career, playing for various semi-professional teams such as the Lackawanna Lancers, London Lords, and Rochester Wolves.
In 1970, he joined the teaching staff at Cleveland Hill High School, assuming the role of a football coach two years later in 1972. Initially coaching the freshman team, Carl eventually became a member of the varsity staff from 1978 until 1995. He also coached track and field and never lost a meet. In 1985 he started the Western New York Powerlifting Championships. Additionally, he served as Cleveland Hill's athletic director from 1989 until 2001, when he retired.
Carl's exceptional ability to connect with students and athletes alike endeared him to the Golden Eagle community. As a testament to his tremendous impact, Cleveland Hill honored him in 2010 by naming its athletic complex and football field after him.
Despite retiring, Carl's love for the game never waned. He continued to contribute as an assistant for Cleveland Hill football and, in 2003, he co-founded the Trench Trophy alongside Len Kuhn. This prestigious award recognized the top lineman in Western New York, highlighting a position often overlooked by other awards. As the driving force behind the organization, Carl played an instrumental role in its growth, elevating its reach and influence within the community.
A firm believer in giving back to his community and effecting positive social change, he remained actively involved in numerous organizations, including the Lancaster Elks Lodge, where he served as a Trustee and, until recently, as the lodge manager. Carl was also a proud member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and Kensington Lions.
Today, as we reflect on Carl's remarkable life, we find solace in knowing that he leaves behind a legacy of love and impact. Carl is survived by his beloved wife Dorothy, their children Kelly and Chad, as well as four adored grandchildren. Additionally, his positive influence extends to his extended family, friends, and countless others who have had the privilege of crossing paths with this extraordinary man..
In 2010 the Trench Trophy saw the loss of two of its founding members, John Gebhardt and Tom Terhart. These men were very important supporters of and generous contributors to the award.
Their loss greatly affected the committee and everyone who knew them. The Trench Trophy is proud to announce that our yearly college scholarship and Pitbull Awards have been renamed in honor of these members. The John Gebhardt Memorial Scholarship and Tom Terhart Pitbull Awards, which recognizes players at linebacker, fullback, and tight-end, are proud additions to our program; these awards were both renamed by result of a unanimous vote by the Trench Trophy Committee in late August of 2010.
Though we will always miss these great men, the Trench Trophy is honored that their legacy as supporters of the award will live on.
Our Memorialized Members:
Halfbacks dance, and halfbacks flirt, while lineman crawl and eat the dirt.
When game time comes, backs run the ball. When glory comes, they get it all.
But if 100 yards they do gain, it's through the lineman's sweat and pain.
While halfbacks cry when they see blood, lineman hide it under mud.
Some backs have moves and others speed, but heart is all a lineman needs.
Backs are good, some are divine, but they'd be nothing without the line.
A halfback loves and then he weds, but lineman only love their sleds.
The fans all see halfbacks run, but few see what the line has done.
And that's why those who know agree, there's half a game that fans don't see.