FORT WORTH, Texas — Led by 2015 runner-up Steven Rhodes of Middle Tennessee State University, four individuals and the Kansas State football program have been named as finalists for the 2016 Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
Other finalists for the 2016 AFMA are Fran McMenamin, a Marine veteran playing on the offensive line at East Stroudsburg University, Naval Academy outside linebacker coach and Marine Robert Green as well as Texas Tech strength and conditioning coach and Army veteran Rusty Whitt.
The partnership between the K-State football team and the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team brought Soldiers and players together at Fort Riley June 17 for a joint physical readiness training event. Kansas State has been involved with Fort Riley since 2008.
Coordinated by the staff at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA was created in June 2012 “to honor an individual and/or a group with a military background and/or involvement that has an impact within the realm of college football.”
The award’s selection committee is made up of five FWAA members and two representatives from the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. The group reviewed 16 “candidates” for the 2016 honor where Rhodes, McMenamin, Green, Whitt and the K-State football program were confirmed finalists for the award.
Bret Robertson of Westminster College (Fulton, Mo.) was honored as the 2015 recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA. Rhodes, who was also considered for the Armed Forces Merit Award in 2013 and 2014, played in the 2013 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
This year’s recipient will be announced this Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11. The announcement of the 2016 recipient will be made jointly by Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Executive Director Brant Ringler and FWAA President Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal on an 11 a.m. (CT) teleconference.
Nate Boyer of the University of Texas was named the initial recipient of the award in 2012, Brandon McCoy of the University of North Texas topped the AFMA list in 2013 and Daniel Rodriguez from Clemson University was honored in 2014.