Maxwell Football Club Names John T. Grant Jr. as the Winner of the Thomas Brookshier Spirit Award

Maxwell Football Club Executive Director Mark Wolpert announced that John T. Grant Jr. will be honored with the Club’s Thomas Brookshier Spirit Award at the 87th Maxwell Awards, Friday March 8, 2024 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta Georgia.

Grant is the executive director of the Cricket Celebration Bowl and the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff, college football games in Atlanta that are owned and operated by ESPN Events. A highly respected business leader in Atlanta and one of the most influential figures in Black college athletics, Grant has grown the Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff into a marquee annual event between college football programs from the Mid-Eastern Athletic and Southwestern Athletic conferences. Grant has also built the Cricket Celebration Bowl into the crown jewel of Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) football with champions of the MEAC and SWAC playing at Mercedes Benz Stadium each December in a nationally-televised ABC broadcast for the  Black college football national championship.

In all, Grant has worked in the Atlanta market for more than three decades. Prior to joining ESPN, he was the chief executive officer of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, an organization that provides support and improves the quality of life for African Americans, particularly youth, through educational and economic opportunities in the Atlanta community.

Grant has received numerous awards and recognition. He was selected by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the 100 Most Influential Atlantans, 100 Most Influential in Hospitality, 50 Most Influential Non-Profit Leaders, ‘50 Most Influential Leaders in Sports, and 2016 Who’s Who in Sports. He was inducted into the 2015 Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame, and he was named one of Atlanta’s 2016 Men of the Year by Atlanta Tribune Magazine. Also, the Atlanta Friendship Initiative, a non-profit aimed at building relationships among Atlanta leaders to eliminate racism that Grant co-founded in 2016, was recipient of Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2022 Visionary Award.  In 2023 he was named among Sports Illustrated 20 Most Influential Black Figures in College Football.

Grant currently serves on several boards including the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, Atlanta Sports Council,  Walt Disney Company’s HBCU Advisory Committee and is a member of the Atlanta Rotary

John Grant Jr. has been at the forefront of HBCU football for many years, and the events he has developed in Atlanta provide unmatched exposure opportunities for the teams and student-athletes in the MEAC and SWAC conferences. His hard work and dedication to these endeavors coupled with the efforts he has made in the Atlanta community have impacted countless young people and have served as an example on how to ignite positive interaction in his city. He is a difference maker and I know that Tom Brookshier would be proud to know that a man like John Grant Jr. would be represented with this award.”

Mark Wolpert – Maxwell Football Club Executive Director

In addition to Mr. Grant’s award the Club will also recognize Michael Penix Jr. (Washington) -Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year), Payton Wilson (NC State) – Chuck Bednarik Award (College Defensive Player of the Year) and Caleb Downs (Alabama) Shaun Alexander Award (Freshman of the Year) at the event.

Tickets for the Maxwell Awards at the College Football Hall of Fame are on sale and can be purchased by visiting


ABOUT THE MAXWELL FOOTBALL CLUB – The Maxwell Football Club was founded in 1935 and is the oldest football organization of its kind in America. The Club recognizes excellence in performance at the high school, collegiate and professional levels of the game. The Maxwell Club is also deeply involved and fully vested in the community through programs to promote academic excellence, community volunteerism, and leadership. High school student-athletes around the country have an opportunity to participate in MFC Showcase events, free of charge, through the generosity of our corporate partners, the Bradley Law Firm, Montage Mountain Resort, the Edward T. Coombs Foundation and the NFL Foundation. To learn more about our story visit

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