The trophy is renamed for William Campbell, a business executive and former player, captain and head coach of the Columbia UniversityLions. Previously named in honor of Vincent dePaul Draddy, who served the National Football Foundation (NFF) and its College Football Hall of Fame for thirty-three years, including nineteen years as the chairman of its board of directors, the trophy is now named after William V. Campbell. It has become the most prestigious and desirable "academic" award in college football. The trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.
A scholar-athlete himself at Manhattan College, Draddy passionately believed in the premise that excellence on the football field could, and should, be consistent with academic distinction and the highest standards of civic leadership. He thought that young men who combined athletic performance with academic excellence should be recognized. After his death in July 1990, the NFF perpetuated his memory and beliefs by establishing a scholarship that would recognize the scholar-athlete who most fully embodies the ideals of the NFF.
The trophy is sponsored by HealthSouth Corporation, and as such is officially named "The William V. Campbell Trophy endowed by HealthSouth."