First presented in 2012, the Armed Forces Merit Award is awarded annually by a panel comprised of members from the Football Writers Association of America and the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. The awardees are individuals or a group with military background or involvement that has an impact on the realm of college football. Mike Viti, Army’s fullbacks coach, definitely fits that bill.
West Point Class of 2008, Viti played fullback for the Black Knights, compiling 519 yards on 121 touches (4.3 yards average) and three touchdowns. Upon graduation, Viti would go on to deploy to the Middle East with his classmates, earning a Bronze Star for his actions. Retiring from military service as a captain, Viti continued his dedication to others. He currently directs a non-profit which supports Gold Star families.
In 2014, prior to joining the Army coaching staff, Viti conducted “Mike’s Hike For Heroes” in honor of every servicemember who’d perished in the Global War on Terror. Starting in Washington, D.C. Viti marched 7,100km or 4,400mi and concluded his hike at the Army/Navy game in Baltimore, MD.
Viti was brought on shortly after head coach Jeff Monken took over the reins at West Point, and he has become a familiar, fired-up presence on the Army sideline. His influence has helped former players such as Andy Davidson and Darnell Woolfolk set Academy records, and he continues to develop a quality “stable” of fullbacks for Army’s rushing attack such as Connor Slomka and Sandon McCoy.
Shoutout on #VeteransDay to @MikeViti on being selected as this year's recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award.— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) November 11, 2019
Each year, the award honors an individual and/or a group with a military background and/or involvement that has an impact within college football. #GoArmy pic.twitter.com/6yeikOUwax
A leader on and off the field, it’s no surprise that Mike Viti has been selected for this award.
Congrats Coach Viti, and Go Army!