FWAA member Donald Hunt to be inducted into Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame Reply

Donald Hunt, a long-time FWAA member and writer for the Philadelphia Tribune, will be inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday, Nov. 2. The class of 2017 was announced at a ceremony on Thursday.

His son, also named Donald, was named the Volney Meece Scholarship winner in 2010.

CLICK HERE to read the entire story on Hunt’s selection for the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.

Duffy Daugherty’s 1967 call for playoff was way ahead of its time

Executive Director’s note: In 1966 Notre Dame and Michigan State played to a 10-10 tie, setting off a controversy over which team should be No. 1. The game is still talked about until this day more than 50 years later.  Both teams finished the season unbeaten with a tie against each other. Notre Dame wound up No. 1 in three of the major polls, including in the voting for the FWAA’s Grantland Rice Trophy . But the National Football Foundation awarded the MacArthur Bowl to both teams.

The following September Michigan State coach Duffy Daugherty wrote a column for the Family Weekly suggesting a Football Playoff. It took college football until the 2014 season to stage a four-team format at the top level of the sport. The Spartans’ coach was way ahead of his time when he talked about the process in the attached column.

FWAA names ‘Super 11’ sports information departments of 2016 season

DALLAS — Five previous winners and six first-time winners comprise the Eighth Annual Super 11 Awards, which the FWAA gives out annually to the best performing sports information departments in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The awards announced this week are for the 2016 season.

USC claimed its seventh Super 11 award and third straight. Nebraska won for the fifth time overall and fourth time in five seasons. Clemson and Colorado each won for a fourth time. It was Clemson’s second straight award and Colorado’s third award in four seasons.

Navy was the other past winner, having claimed a spot back in 2010, the second year the Super 11 was named.

The first-time winners are Air Force, Arkansas State, Miami (Ohio), Oklahoma State, Tennessee and UTEP in the awards selection that dates back to the 2009 season.

“Our organization believes this award is one of the most important tasks that we do each year,” said Tim Griffin of Cox Communications, the FWAA’s 2010 president and the head of the Super 11 committee.

“There are many outstanding SID staffs across the country. But these 11 departments we are honoring are consistently exemplary beyond expectations. We hope these awards help to showcase them.”

Criteria employed in determining the winners not only included how press boxes and media operations were operated, but also the quality and timeliness of information provided. Also judged was the amount of information presented and appropriately updated on websites, and personal responsiveness to media inquiries as well as the accessibility of a program’s players, coaches and assistant coaches. The ratings considered those departments that went the extra mile in servicing the media.

The Super 11 Committee received input from other FWAA members and others who covered college football during the 2016 season.

“The FWAA takes very serious the importance of good sports information departments and what they can mean to coverage of college Football,” said PA Media Group’s David Jones, 2017 FWAA President. “They can greatly aid in that coverage. And we want to salute those departments. Obviously, there are other top sports information departments. But these are ones the committee believed were in the top category during the 2016 season.”

In January 2009, the FWAA formed the first Super 11 Committee. The concept has been supported and endorsed by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), many of whom are members of the FWAA.

The FWAA, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,300 men and women across North America who cover college football for a living. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards (Eddie Robinson, Outland and Nagurski), a national poll and its annual All-America teams that date to 1944.

For more information on the Super 11, contact committee chairman Tim Griffin (210-823-3666, timgriffin59@hotmail.com) or visit the association’s official website, footballwriters.com.

Football dreams come full circle for Armed Forces Merit Award winner

Steven Rhodes claimed the Armed Forces Merit Award in 2016. The FWAA helps name the winner of the Merit Award along with the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

From Middle Tennessee Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. Middle Tennessee defensive end Steven Rhodes’ incredible four-year journey will come full circle in the next week.

Armed Forces Merit Award winner Steven Rhodes, a former Marine and defensive end at Middle Tennessee State, is flanked by
Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, president of Middle Tennessee State (left) and Athletic Director Chris Massaro at the FWAA’s Awards Breakfast on Jan. 9, 2017, in Tampa.
Photo by Melissa Macatee.

The senior Marine veteran and Antioch, Tenn., native will accomplish what he calls “two of the biggest goals in my life” all in the span of eight days. He will graduate from college on Saturday with a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication and then attend rookie minicamp with his hometown Tennessee Titans from May 12-14.

“Finally my dream is starting to take place,” Rhodes said. “It’s something not everyone can say they’ve done, to graduate college and get a chance in the NFL. Especially not having any student loans, that’s even better.

“There’s nothing like playing the sport you love and playing for your hometown. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I’m excited to be a Titan.”

It’s often said that students mold the person they will become during their four years at college, and especially during their freshman year. But, for Rhodes, that was a little different.
He wasn’t an 18-year-old kid moving away from home for the first time in his life when he stepped onto MT’s campus in 2013. He was a 25-year-old man who had spent the previous five years fighting for his country as a Marine.

“I think the biggest thing I learned [at college] was I can be pushed to new limits and pushed a lot further than I thought I could go,” Rhodes said. “It’s been a lot being a husband, a father, a full-time college student and a football player. It’s like having 10 jobs and it was very difficult, but it definitely helped mold me, and coming through those tough times made me a better man and a stronger man.”

Rhodes became a beloved member of the Murfreesboro community, being awarded the Daily News Journal Person of the Year award in 2013 during his freshman season for the Blue Raiders. He also became a consistent player on the field and got better each season.

He had never played defensive end before coming to MT, but improved with every game and every practice and capped his four years with a career season in 2016. He set personal highs in tackles (41), tackles for loss (8), quarterback hurries (7) and sacks (4.5), leading the team in the latter three statistics.
How Rhodes was able to focus on his craft as much as he was able to over his four years wasn’t just a credit to his own work ethic. It was a family affair.

He and his wife, Adrienne, have two children: Kameron, 5, and Devon, 4. It was their support and flexibility that helped their dad reach his ultimate dreams.

“My family is my support system, my backbone through all of this,” Rhodes said. “My wife was the one who encouraged me to keep going and never give up, and my two boys, my parents, my brother they all kept me going and kept me motivated and helped make this possible.”

As he prepares this week to showcase his talents in front of the Titans, Rhodes will take some time to reflect back on the special four years he’s had. But, sticking true to what he learned as a Marine, he knows there’s plenty of work to do in order to prove himself, and he’s too disciplined to take a break.

The Armed Forces Merit Award recipient also knows there are a lot of people from another family, his fellow veterans, who are inspired by his story, and he won’t let them down.

“It’s possible to achieve your dreams after active duty, and I’m glad I can show that,” Rhodes said. “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster … but everything worked out how it was supposed to.

“I’m just really excited and ready to get back to work and back to football.”

 

Schedule for upcoming FBS Conference media days

Here are the dates and sites for the 2017 Football Media Days in July for the 10 FBS Conferences.

American: July 17-18,  Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina, Newport, Rhode Island

ACC: July 13-14, Westin, Charlotte

Big Ten: July 24-25, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Chicago

Big 12: July 17-18, The Star, Frisco, Texas

Conference USA: July 19-20, DFW Marriott North, Irving, TX

Mid-American: July 25-26, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio

Mountain West: July 25-26, The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas

Pac-12: July 26-27,  Hollywood and Highland Entertainment Center, Los Angeles

SEC: July 10-13, Hyatt-Wynfrey Hotel, Hoover, AL

Sun Belt: July 23-24, Superdome, New Orleans

FWAA member begins previews of all 130 FBS teams

FWAA member Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel is previewing all 130 NCAA FBS Teams, ranking them from No.130 all the way to the No.1 team. His first installment  began on Monday with No. 130 Alabama-Birmingham, which is re-instituting football this coming season. His team reports will appear daily in the Orlando Sentinel on-line.

CLICK HERE to begin reading Matt’s series.

 

Rice honors former Owl Matt Sign of NFF

Matt Sign, FWAA Board member from the National Football Foundation where he is the chief operating officer, was honored this past week at the Rice Spring Game. He is a former standout Rice football player.

For Immediate Release

Chuck Pool

cpool@rice.edu

713-348-5775

Cobb and Sign Selected as 2017 Honor Jerseys

Two mainstays of the current Rice football team will take to the field for the annual Blue-Gray spring game in new numbers as they honor a pair of standout teammates from the past as part of the Rice Owls Honor Jersey program.

Running back Samuel Stewart will switch to 45 this year to honor 1991 Doak Walker Award winner Trevor Cobb, while defensive tackle Preston Gordon wear 99 to honor Cobb’s teammate and two-time All –SWC noseguard Matt Sign.   

Cobb became the first Owl to win one of college football’s major individual awards when he received the 1991 Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back.  Cobb was a consensus All-American in 1991 and went on to be named the 1992 Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year.  He completed his  career ranked second on the SWC rushing list with 4,948 yards, which ranked eighth on the NCAA career list at that time and now ranks 22nd in NCAA history.

He became the first Owl to rush for over 1,000 yards in three seasons and holds the top three season totals in school history, capped by his 1,692 yards in 1991 during his run to the Doak Walker Award.  In addition to his yardage total, Cobb holds Rice season and career marks for rushing attempts (306/1,091), and all-purpose yards (6,512) in addition to the career mark for rushing touchdowns (38).

Despite his 5-10, 220 pound frame, Sign was a dominant defensive force during his career at Rice.  He led Rice linemen in tackles in each of his four seasons and he ranks fifth on the Rice career chart with 36 tackles for loss and sixth with 14 sacks. He won the Lipscomb Award in 1989 as the Outstanding Freshman and shared the first “Bloody Joe” Davis Award in 1991.

After starting his professional career with Florida Citrus Sports (FCS) which produced the Champs Sports Bowl and the Gridiron Classic College All-Star Game, Sign was named the Chief Operating Officer of the National Football Foundation in 2005.

The Honor Jersey program began in 2012, when Rice head coach David Bailiff first honored past notable Rice football players by having current member of the team who play the same position change numbers.  King Hill and O.J. Brigance were honored the first year.  In 2013, the Owls honored the first three African-American players at Rice (Rodrigo Barnes, Stahle Vincent and Mike Tyler) along with Bucky Allshouse, who was their recruiting host.   In 2014, Larry Izzo, N.D. Kalu and Richard Chapman were honored while in 2015; Jeff Rose and Dr. Leland Winston saw players change to their numbers. Last year, Ray Alborn, Donald Bowers and David Houser were honored.

Kickoff for the annual game to wrap up spring football drills is set for 8:00 p.m. Friday at Rice Stadium.