The late Sam B. Nicola founded the Touchdown Club of Columbus in 1956 at the request of then State Auditor (and eventual Governor) James A. Rhodes.   Nicola was President of the Athletic Club of Columbus when the very first All-Sports Banquet was held in January, 1956.   For the first ten years of the banquet, the Master of Ceremonies was Baseball Hall of Fame announcer Mel Allen, and the guest list read like a virtual Who’s Who of American sports legends.   Football immortals such as Jim Brown, Bronko Nagurski, Bobby Layne, and of course, Coach Woody Hayes.   Baseball Hall of Famers with names like Mantle, Mays, Koufax and Derek Jeter have graced the stage at the annual Touchdown Club Banquet.
But the Touchdown Club name has always been somewhat of a misnomer since athletes from all sports are recognized each year.   In the past 60 years, the Touchdown Club of Columbus has hosted and honored more than 2000 of the world’s finest athletes, as well as the greatest football players to ever take the field.   Athletes are selected each year by the Touchdown Club’s committees consisting of coaches, sportswriters, and former players themselves.
In 1993, more than a decade after the passing of the Club’s founder, his son Sam Nicola, Jr. took over the Touchdown Club.   The following year, Nicola enlisted the services of current President/Co-Chairman Curt Boster, and together they have produced the grand event witnessed each year.   In 2003, the annual Touchdown Club Awards Banquet moved to their permanent home at The Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, located in the active Arena District of downtown Columbus.   Three years later, the Club named Scott Steinecker–President of PromoWest Productions and owner of the facility–TDC Co-Chairman.
The past 20 years have been the most exciting ever for the Touchdown Club of Columbus.   The Club has hosted a nationally recognized 40th Anniversary of the American Football League, honored more than 60 living members of the Ohio State Football All-Century Team, and presented their annual high school/collegiate football awards to many of football’s greatest players and coaches.   And in 2014, the TDC intends to introduce their prestigious Sammy Baugh Award to a national audience.