“For those of us who spent our formative years in Michigan City, Tom Nowatzke was one of the heroes we looked up to,” Pelath told House members. “He showed that a person could rise from humble beginnings to achieve success in both the sports and business worlds. Through all this time, he never forgot his roots in Michigan City, and I am pleased to play a small role in recognizing his accomplishments.”
Growing up on his family’s 180-acre potato farm outside Michigan City, Nowatzke first gained recognition for his exploits at Elston High School. It was at Indiana University, though, where Nowatzke drew national acclaim as a three-way threat playing running back, linebacker, and placekicker. In 1963, he was named IU’s Most Valuable Player after a season in which he scored a record 73 points.
Such exploits captured the attention of professional football, and Nowatzke was drafted in the first round of the 1965 drafts by the Detroit Lions of the National Football League and the New York Jets of the American Football League.
“After playing five seasons with the Lions, Tom was traded to the Baltimore Colts in 1970, just in time to become a hero to Colts fans everywhere by scoring a game-tying touchdown in the team’s 16-13 win in Super Bowl V over the Dallas Cowboys,” Pelath noted.
Once his football career was completed, Nowatzke became a business owner. He runs Nowatzke Truck and Trailer, Inc./NRT Leasing, LCC, near Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“While Tom is a member of the Indiana Football Hall of Fame and IU’s Athletics Hall of Fame, it has been truly gratifying to see this humble man finally attain a measure of the recognition he deserves as a role model for people of all generations to follow,” Pelath said.
Nowatzke is the subject of a documentary entitled “Running Strong: The Tom Nowatzke Story,” produced by Stunt3 Multimedia that is being distributed to every middle school, high school and public library in Indiana.
Joining Pelath on the House Concurrent Resolution honoring Nowatzke were State Reps. Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte), Ryan Dvorak and B. Patrick Bauer (both D-South Bend), Christina Hale (D-Indianapolis) and Wendy McNamara (R-Mount Vernon).