The Mortell Holder of the Year Award was created in 2015 by Peter Mortell. The University of Minnesota Punter/Holder jokingly tweeted a picture with the caption:
"Your hands are too slow" they said. "Your cadence has no rhythm" they said. This one's for the state of Minnesota."
Mortell, who has publicly said the award was made in jest, was amazed at the reaction to his tweet. Almost instantly, the tweet garnered national attention. In addition to over 13,000 RT's and 18,000 Favorites, many news outlets including ESPN and ABC shared College Football's newest honor. A week later, Peter was featured on ESPN's College Football Awards show presented by Chris Fowler.
The next week, Mortell paired up with the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's hospital. He launched a fundraiser called, "A Very Specialist Christmas" where, the self-proclaimed (but critically acclaimed) Holder of the Year set out to raise money for the hospital's teenage patients who would be spending their Christmas in a hospital room.
What happened next was astonishing.
Mortell set a lofty $10,000 goal. However, the former walk-on greatly underestimated the community's willingness to support this cause. The goal was achieved 8 hours later, and a new one was soon established. Goals were set and reached four more times that week, before concluding at approximately $30,000, triple of the original goal. Over 350 people donated to his cause, many of whom wrote, "I only heard about you last week through the Holder of the Year Award, however, I'd very much like to contribute to your special cause."
Today, a simple tweeted picture has grown into something so much bigger. In December of 2017, the HOTY Foundation was established. The HOTY Foundation is a non-profit (501c3) organization that selects the Mortell Holder of the Year Award winner, given to the top field goal holder in college football. The winner has an opportunity to raise money for a charity of his choice. To date, previous winners Peter Mortell (Minnesota, 2015) and Garrett Moores (Michigan, 2016) have raised over $30,000 for the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital and the VA in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The HOTY Foundation is a platform to recognize and appreciate those who show both excellence on the college football field and outstanding community involvement. Holding has been a thankless job for too long, the Foundation is a way to now say Thank You in a big way.
The HOTY Foundation allows a special recipient the opportunity to use his platform to contribute to something much bigger than football, and that's nothing to joke about.