FWAA taking nominations for Armed Forces Merit Award

armed forces merit awardWe are now taking nominations for the Armed Forces Merit Award. From those teams and conferences you cover please keep an eye out for the following:

WHO QUALIFIES?: An Individual with an armed forces background who is currently involved as an athletic administrator, football coach, staff member or player and has brought distinction and recognition to both his or her armed forces service and the sport. These include Individuals or groups that have created, developed or produced football-related programs that provide care, concern and support for past or present members of the United States armed forces or their families.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: Sept. 30, 2014

SELECTION PROCESS: A blue-ribbon committee will take the nominations and select a winner during the fall.

Send nominations to FWAA Member Tim Simmons at bfishinc@aol.com or call 720-244-6580.

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Randy White to receive Bronko Nagurski Legends Award

Randy White

Randy White

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  – The Charlotte Touchdown Club, in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America and Florida East Coast Railway, proudly announces that Randy White will be the recipient of the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, which recognizes outstanding defensive football players from the past 40 years.

The award will be presented formally to White during the annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Awards Banquet on Monday, December  8 at The Westin Hotel.  University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban will be the keynote speaker.

White’s career highlights include:

  • Nine-time Pro Bowl selection (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985)
  • Nine-time First-Team All-Pro selection (1977, 1978 , 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985)
  • Three-time NFC Champion (1975, 1977, 1978)
  • Super Bowl champion (XII)
  • 1978 Co-Super Bowl MVP
  • Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1994)
  • Played for the University of Maryland (1972-74)
  • 1974 Outland Trophy
  • 1974 Lombardi Award
  • 1974 UPI Lineman of the Year
  • Two-time All-American (1973, 1974)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (1994)
  • Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor

For Reservations or Information on how to become a member of the Club’s Sponsor Team, please call 704-347-2918 or email John Rocco atjrocco@touchdownclub.com.

Nick Saban to be keynote speaker at December Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet in Charlotte

Nick Saban

Nick Saban

Charlotte, N.C. — The Charlotte Touchdown Club, in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America, has announced that Alabama Coach Nick Saban will be the keynote speaker for the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet scheduled for Monday, December 8th.

“I appreciate the invitation to speak at the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet,” Saban said. “The Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America have built the Bronko Nagurski Trophy into one of the nation’s premiere defensive awards for college football and I’m excited to be a part of this year’s event.”

“The Charlotte Touchdown Club is thrilled to have Coach Nick Saban as Keynote Speaker for the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Banquet,” said John Rocco Executive Director of the Charlotte Touchdown Club. “We look forward to Coach Saban’s remarks and the announcement of the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner at our black tie banquet held December 8th at the Westin Hotel.”

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Omaha World-Herald’s FWAA members launching Internet radio show in March

Omaha World-Herald columnist  and former FWAA President  Tom Shatel  and his colleague Lee Barfknecht, the FWAA’s first vice-president, and several other FWAA members at the World-Herald are part of this new radio internet program that will launch in March. The following is Tom’s column about plans for the new show.

Beam me up, Mike’l.

We’re not far from a day when the AM radio will be replaced by Internet radio. A time when you can get in your car, plug in your phone and listen to your favorite talk show, order a pizza or buy movie tickets over the Internet.

Omaha World-Herald columnist and former FWAA President Tom Shatel

Omaha World-Herald columnist and former FWAA President Tom Shatel

So says Mike’l Severe, the new host of the World-Herald show “The Bottom Line.”

“It’s already starting,” Severe said. “I drove a Dodge truck recently and you’re able to drive to the movie theater, look up what’s playing, see the trailer, call the theater and buy tickets — all right there on that 7.1-inch screen.

“We’re not very far from ‘Star Trek.’ ”

The World-Herald is preparing to boldly go where few newspapers have gone before.

Beginning in March, The World-Herald will host a sports talk show that will be accessible on Omaha.com or through a “The Bottom Line” phone app.

“The Bottom Line” will run Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and will feature World-Herald sportswriters, entertainment writers and news writers.

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New president Kirk Bohl’s column

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s the dawning of a new day for college football. I hope I don’t oversleep.

I wouldn’t want to miss it. By this time next year when we’ve celebrated our first champion from a real, live playoff culminating in Arlington, Texas, we might not even recognize the game. Change is coming, and, yes, it will be dramatic.

We enter 2014 with an appreciation for the rich past of this wonderful game we follow and an eye toward a future filled with equal parts anticipation of a historic season with the first College Football Playoff after the 2014 regular season. We also have a healthy concern for the direction of the sport. After all, the game is in a state of flux. Who knows when the Southeastern Conference will end its long drought and ever win another championship?

First, it’s a privilege to be your 2014 FWAA President. And I’d like to especially salute our 2013 President, Chris Dufresne, for his terrific service. I’d like to thank him for the great California weather for the final BCS game and the fact the game did not go into overtime

These are tumultuous times as college football wrestles with overwhelming issues: potential federation within the NCAA that could lead to a separate division and more distance between the haves and have-somes; Football Bowl Subdivision anxiety over uneven enforcement of penalties; players’ long-term health and safety; subsidies for players for the full cost of a scholarship; a tangled, complicated rulebook; and the controversial Ed O’Bannon lawsuit over payment for use of players’ likenesses for video games. And that doesn’t even count Lane Kiffin’s fascinating future, especially the week of the Alabama-Tennessee game.

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A fireside chat with your 2014 president, Kirk Bohls

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

(Ed. Note:  Executive Director Steve Richardson recently asked Kirk Bohls several questions about his life and a couple of topics so we could get to know him better.)

ATHLETIC BACKGROUND:  “I am a Taylor Duck (High School is 29 miles northeast of Austin) once and forever. I played every sport they had at Taylor, including football where I played Monster Man (strong safety) and was a 150-pound terror — at least in my mind. I also broke my neck in the first half of our homecoming game against Rockdale (we won) and played the entire second half. You can’t get much more stupid than that.”

WORK HISTORY:  “It can be summed up pretty simply. I graduated from the University of Texas in May 1973, went to work for the Austin American-Statesman that same month after coming within an hour of taking a job in Lubbock at the Avalanche Journal. I have been there ever since. My first year on the Texas beat was Darrell Royal’s last year. We broke the OU spying story the week of the 1976 OU game, and that’s still the most memorable Texas-OU game ever. My first year on the Texas baseball beat was 1977. Texas won the national championship. I’m thinking these beats are kind of cool. I think I’ll stick around. Some 40 years later…”

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AFCA convention offers alternative view on concussions

Dennis Dodd

Dennis Dodd

By Dennis Dodd/CBSSports.com

INDIANAPOLIS — College football coaches’ answer to the concussion crisis is a former University of Texas cheerleader who believes brains can heal themselves.

Hey, why not? Not much else has seemed to soothe the nation’s fears. The concussion crisis has resulted in a public relations crisis. The numbers of those playing youth football are dwindling. Lawsuits are hitting the NCAA, NFL — even the national high school association — from all sides.

The American Football Coaches Association on Monday morning presented Dr. Sandra Chapman as a rebuttal in an ongoing debate that continues to erode the profession’s credibility.

“If you haven’t sensed it,” AFCA executive director Grant Teaff told an audience of about 500 coaches, “our game’s under attack.”

Chapman, then, was part of the counterattack. The founder and chief director of the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas-Dallas, is a cognitive neuroscientist. Her suggestion to Monday’s group was things aren’t as bad as the national narrative suggests.

“I want to change the conversation that you’re hearing,” she said during a session titled: The Future of Football: A Dose of Reality. “We’re showing a [positive] brain change [after injury], not in months and years but in literally hours.”

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USC’s Tessalone named winner of Bert McGrane Award

USC Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone

USC Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone

USC’s Tim Tessalone is the 41st winner of the Bert McGrane Award, which is annually bestowed on a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

He has served college football for more than three decades as the Trojans’ sports information director, helping writers in their jobs as well as promoting the school’s athletic teams — both in exemplary fashion.

The McGrane Award, symbolic of the association’s Hall of Fame, is presented to an FWAA member who has performed great service to the organization or the writing profession. It is named after McGrane, a Des Moines, Iowa, writer who was the executive secretary of the FWAA from the early 1940s until 1973.

The Bert McGrane Award

The Bert McGrane Award

Tessalone will receive the award during the FWAA’s Annual Awards Breakfast on Jan. 6 at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Spa, the media hotel for the VIZIO BCS National Championship game, played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

“I am humbled and honored to receive an award that not only is named after a man who served the FWAA so well, but that has been presented previously to icons who are well above me in stature and ability,” Tessalone said. “It is a privilege to be in their company.  Thank you to the FWAA membership, with particular gratitude to Chris Dufresne (2013 FWAA President) and Mark Blaudschun (1999 FWAA President).

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President’s column, by Chris Dufresne

Like a Capistrano swallow, Art Spander always finds his way to the Rose Bowl

FWAA President Chris Dufresne

FWAA President Chris Dufresne

Art Spander failed to attend the first Rose Bowl in 1902 only because, as the story goes, he hit the snooze alarm (a rooster) and missed the 7 a.m. stagecoach to Pasadena.

Or maybe that story is apocryphal.

This one is not: Spander will ring in 2014 by attending his 61st straight Rose Bowl…out of a 100.

Consider that, astonishingly, for a second.

People make a big deal about Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak of 56-straight games. Shoot, that streak only spanned ONE season.

 Spander has attended 60% of all Rose Bowl games played. His career attendance percentage is higher than Shaquille O’Neal’s career free-throw percentage (52.7%).

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