Call for entries in the 2019 Best Writing Contest

FWAA members may begin submitting entries in the FWAA’s 27th annual Best Writing Contest now.

CATEGORIES

  • Game Story (Immediate Deadline)
  • Feature Story/Profile
  • Enterprise/Investigative
  • Column/Analysis/Commentary

BEAT WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD

In addition, see below, we have created a special award for the top beat writer as judged by a special FWAA committee headed by Executive Director Steve Richardson.

WRITING CONTEST RULES

You must be an FWAA member in good standing to enter.

Deadline: June 1, 2019. Entries sent after the deadline WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Limit: One (1) article per category, although a series of articles may be submitted in the enterprise category.

Entries must have appeared in print or on line between Feb. 1, 2018 and Jan. 31, 2019.

Entries must be submitted electronically to contest@fwaa.com.

Entries not sent to this e-mail address will not be accepted

Send MS Word or text files only. DO NOT SEND HTML files, Word Perfect files, stories in other word processing software or links to stories on the Internet or electronic libraries

Make your entry easy to read by taking out unnecessary carriage returns (They can give your entry an odd look when opened by a judge’s word processing program)

Delete any embedded advertising, photos and cutlines from the files (The file should contain only your story and your identifying information)

At the top of each entry, the following information should be included:

  • Writer(s)
  • Publication or online service
  • Category
  • Date of publication
  • E-mail address and telephone number for the writer(s) of the entry

The entries will be sorted and stripped of identifying information and forwarded to the judge(s).

Files containing your entries should follow this naming convention: yourname-category.doc

The category must be one of these four words: Game, Feature, Enterprise or Column

Example: KenStephens-game.doc

FWAA BEAT WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD: If you have a nomination of a beat writer who covers major college football (either a team or a conference) or you want to nominate yourself, please send an e-mail/letter explaining the qualifications of the person (no more than 250 words) to:

Steve Richardson
FWAA Executive Director
18652 Vista del Sol
Dallas, TX 75287

Steve’s e-mail is tiger@fwaa.com. Steve and his committee will then make inquiries into the FWAA members nominated. In order to qualify for this award the person nominated must have been an FWAA member during the 2018 football season.

Questions? E-mail Ken Stephens at ken.stephens@sbcglobal.net.

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UCLA’S Jerry Robinson named 2019 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award recipient

College Hall-of-Famer joins growing list of honored college football legends

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America proudly announces UCLA great Jerry Robinson as the recipient of the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award presented by Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery, which recognizes outstanding defensive football players from the past 40 years.  The award will be presented formally during the annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Awards Banquet on December 9, 2019.

Jerry Robinson

“Wow!  Just when you think that people have forgotten about those great players from back in the day, I received a phone call from Steve Richardson of the Football Writers Association of America congratulating me on being named the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award recipient. I was stunned and truly honored to receive this award because I know that Bronko Nagurski was one of the greatest football players ever and the annual award presented in his name goes to the best defensive player in college football,” said Jerry Robinson.

“Because of his many achievements on and off the gridiron, Jerry Robinson is an ideal choice for this year’s Bronko Nagurski Legends Award,” commented Dr. Richard R. Rolle, Jr. of Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery. “Having played college football at the University of Notre Dame under legendary coach Lou Holtz, I understand on a very personal level, the focus, commitment, and hard work it takes to be remembered as one of the game’s all-time greats. Congratulations from the entire staff of Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery to Jerry Robinson on this well-deserved honor.”

Robinson joins a growing list of prestigious Bronko Nagurski Legends Award recipients including: Alan Page, Bubba Smith, Ted Hendricks, Roger Wehrli, Mike McCoy, Jack Youngblood, Larry Jacobson, Randy Rhino, Randy White, Randy Gradishar, Chet Moeller, Ross Browner, and Tom Cousineau.

Jerry Robinson was a star athlete at Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, California. He captained the football, basketball and track teams. He ran the 100-yard dash in 9.5 seconds and high jumped 6 feet 5 inches. UCLA used him as a wide receiver his freshman year and moved him to inside linebacker just before the Rose Bowl game with Ohio State. As a linebacker Robinson made All-American three times. He was a Consensus choice in 1976, Unanimous in 1977 and 1978. Robinson set a school record for most tackles (28) in a single game against Air Force in 1976. His career total 468 tackles, set a UCLA record. The Downtown Athletic Club of New York named him Linebacker of the Year (Now named the Dick Butkus Award) in 1977 and 1978.) He received the Pop Warner Award as Best West Coast player in 1978. Robinson stood 6-3, weighed 208, and wore jersey No. 84, which UCLA retired. His name and number is displayed in the Ring of Honor at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Robinson was named to the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame, as well as the College Football Hall of Fame. Jerry was also one of only 50 players to be named to The All Century Pac 12 Team.

Robinson was selected in the first round of the 1979 NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played a total of 13 years in the NFL, six with the Philadelphia Eagles and seven with the Los Angeles Raiders. Robinson’s NFL awards and achievements include: NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year. Participant in Super Bow XV (Philadelphia Eagles vs Oakland Raiders). 1987 Ed Block Courage Award. Four time All-Pro Selection and participant in one Pro-Bowl.

Currently Jerry Robinson is Vice President, Board of Directors for a nonprofit organization called Shoes4kidz and produces a podcast “People Doing Good” which highlights people doing good things in their neighborhoods.

About The Independence Fund
The Independence Fund is a nonprofit organization that empowers our nation’s severely wounded veterans and the caregivers who support them to take control of their lives.  Through its dedicated mobility and treatment programs, the Fund assists veterans in transforming their lives toward a better future  The Independence Fund believes we owe it to our veterans to provide the resources they need to move forward and build a strong foundation toward lasting emotional and physical healing in order to reestablish their independence.  To learn more, visit www.independencefund.org.

About Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery
Dr Richard R. Rolle Jr. is a leading oral & maxillofacial surgeon, with strong ties to athletics and delivering excellence www.rolleoralfacialsurgery.com.  Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery offers expertise in: dental implants, wisdom tooth extraction, youth-capturing, cosmetic injectables, oral surgery and cleft lip reconstruction in his Lake Norman, North Carolina practice.  Dr. Rolle holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame where he played varsity football under legendary Coach Lou Holtz.  He completed his oral surgery internship at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital and holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Meharry Medical College.  Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery is the official surgeon for the Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Checkers and Charlotte 49ers.

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, North Carolina region.  Since its inception, the club has grown as well as diversified boasting a sponsor team of more than (80) companies.  The Club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding Citizenship, Scholarship, Sportsmanship, and Leadership of area athletes and coaches.  Through individual and corporate support, more than $2,000,000 has been raised to benefit the Touchdown Club’s scholarship efforts.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of the 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 and an All-America team.  Through its website, the FWAA works to improve communication among all those who work within the game. The FWAA also sponsors scholarships for aspiring writers and an annual writing contest.  Behind the leadership of President David Jones and Executive Director Steve Richardson and a board of veteran journalists, the FWAA continues grow and work to help college football prosper at all levels. There are now over 1,000 members.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards.  The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients.  For more information, visit the association’s official website, www.NCFAA.org.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is presented annually by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America to the nation’s most outstanding NCAA defensive football player at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet in Charlotte, N.C.  All proceeds benefit the Charlotte Touchdown Club Scholarship Fund.  For more information call 704-347-2918 or www.touchdownclub.com.

 

Ryan Day named keynote speaker for 2019 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet

Charlotte, N.C. — The Charlotte Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America, officially announced today that Ohio State coach Ryan Day will be the keynote speaker for the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet scheduled for Monday, December 9.

“I am grateful and appreciative the Charlotte Touchdown Club has selected me for the honor of speaking at the 25th Anniversary Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet Monday, December 9th in Charlotte, North Carolina,” Day said. “It will be really special to assist an organization that does so much good in the community for student-athletes, and also honors the top defensive player in America through its partnership with the Football Writers Association of America.”

Ohio State coach Ryan Day

“We’re excited to welcome Coach Ryan Day as the keynote speaker for this year’s Bronko Nagurski Banquet,” said John Rocco, executive director of the Charlotte Touchdown Club. “From playing quarterback at the University of New Hampshire under Chip Kelly to the head football coach at The Ohio State University, Coach Day’s career has been nothing short of remarkable and we all look forward to hearing more about his journey.”

Sometime around 6:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on January 1, 2019, Ryan Day had a whistle placed around his neck by retiring head coach Urban Meyer in front of the team after its 28-23 Rose Bowl Game victory over Washington. The head coaching tenure of Day at The Ohio State University had officially begun.

Technically, Day’s first day on the job was Jan. 2, but that moment in the locker room at the Rose Bowl in front of 124 players, including more than 100 who will be a part of his first team, will have the lasting impact of origination for the 39-year-old from Manchester, N.H., who becomes just the 25th coach for a storied program that ranks second all-time in victories and will play its 130th season of football in 2019.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Day said later on in the locker room. “To be the leader of such a special place, a special group of men, this program, Buckeye Nation … it is an honor!”

Day officially starts his head coaching career with a record of 3-0. He is credited with the wins earned over Oregon State, Rutgers and 15th-ranked TCU at the beginning of the 2018 season when he served about eight weeks in August and September as Ohio State’s acting head coach. He has a five-year contract through the 2023 season that will pay him $4.5 million annually.

A quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016 under Chip Kelly and in 2015 for the Philadelphia Eagles under Kelly, Day is in his third season overall at Ohio State and his 18th season as a coach in the NFL or collegiate ranks. He was Ohio State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the past two seasons.

The impact he has had on the program in such a short time has been considerable.  No school has had more passing touchdowns the past two seasons than the 90 that Ohio State’s quarterbacks have thrown in that time. Ohio State also ranks seventh nationally over the past two seasons in passing yards per game and third in completion percentage.

Ohio State, in Day’s two seasons, has won six championships: back-to-back Big Ten championships; two Big Ten East Division titles; the 2018 Cotton Bowl and this year’s Rose Bowl.

In 2018 Ohio State ranked second nationally in total offense and passing yards, and No. 8 in scoring. It established Big Ten Conference records for offensive yards per game (535.6), passing yards (5,100), passing yards per game (373.0), touchdown passes (51), completions (396) and total plays (1,131).

Individually, quarterback Dwayne Haskins was a Heisman Trophy finalist who became just the sixth player to throw 50 touchdown passes in a season. He was named the Chicago Tribune Silver Football award winner as the Big Ten’s best player and he was also named the Big Ten’s offensive player of the year and its quarterback of the year.

Wide receiver Parris Campbell this year became just the fifth Ohio State receiver to top 1,000 receiving yards in a season, and running back J.K. Dobbins became the first Buckeye to top 1,000 yards rushing as a freshman and sophomore.

Additionally, in 10 of 14 games this year, Ohio State had 500 yards or more of total offense, including 567 against the nation’s top-ranked defense in a 62-39 win against No. 4 Michigan.

Day was Ohio State’s 2018 nominee for the Broyles Award, which goes annually to the top assistant coach in the country.

The 2017 season was Day’s first in Columbus and it also proved to be a success. His starting quarterback, J.T. Barrett, was a finalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Year Award and he was named the Big Ten’s quarterback of the year after a season in which he set seven school single season records and broke the Big Ten Conference career mark for touchdowns responsible for with 147.

Additionally, Ohio State’s offense was fifth nationally in passing efficiency in 2017, sixth in scoring and eighth in total offense, plus it led the Big Ten in rushing, passing efficiency, scoring and total offense.

On the same day that legendary coach Urban Meyer announced his retirement — Dec. 4, 2018 — Day was named to succeed him.

“I am truly honored to be here today and am so appreciative to President Drake and Gene Smith for the faith they have in me to lead this team,” Day said at a packed press conference at the Fawcett Center on Ohio State’s campus. “I love this program and its student-athletes and I want Buckeye Nation to know how hard we are going to work to ensure this program remains the very best in the country.

“I also want to say ‘thank you’ to coach Meyer. His coaching wisdom and his elite ability to motivate and prepare a team is something everyone on this staff not only appreciates, but learns from and carries forward. I am grateful for the two seasons I’ve had as a part of his staff.”

As an NFL quarterbacks coach, Day worked with Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert in 2016 with the 49ers and he helped Sam Bradford to a record-setting 2015 season with the Eagles as he completed 65 percent of his passes – an Eagles single-season record – and threw for 3,725 yards. Both figures were career highs at the time for Bradford.

In addition to his two NFL seasons as a quarterbacks coach, Day has 15 years of collegiate coaching experience, including offensive coordinator positions at Temple and Boston College, as well as positions with Florida — as a graduate assistant under Meyer – and at his alma mater, New Hampshire.

He coached receivers for a year under Al Golden at Temple University (2006) and for five seasons at Boston College (2007-11). Day worked three years as Steve Addazio’s offensive coordinator: in 2012 he ran the offense and coached receivers at Temple and in 2013 and 2014 he was quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Boston College.

In 2014, Day’s Boston College offense ranked second in the ACC and 21st nationally with 254.4 rushing yards per game, and in 2013 Eagle running back Andre Williams rushed for more than 2,000 yards on his way to unanimous All-America honors while being named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

Day’s Boston College assistant coach experiences — he has coached there on three separate occasions — include the 2007 season when quarterback Matt Ryan threw for over 4,500 prior to becoming the third overall pick in the 2008 draft.

Day is a native of Manchester, NH. He was a three-year starting quarterback at New Hampshire when Chip Kelly was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was a team captain as a senior and earned his degree in business administration in 2002. He has a master’s in administrative studies from Boston College (2004).

Day, and his wife, Christina, who uses the nickname “Nina,” have three children: Ryan Jr. or “RJ”, Grace and Ourania.

About The Independence Fund

The Independence Fund is a nonprofit organization that empowers our nation’s severely wounded veterans and the caregivers who support them to take control of their lives.  Through its dedicated mobility and treatment programs, the Fund assists veterans in transforming their lives toward a
better future.  The Independence Fund believes we owe it to our veterans to provide the resources they need to move forward and build a strong foundation toward lasting emotional and physical healing in order to reestablish their independence.  To learn more, visit  www.independencefund.org.

About Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery

Dr. Richard R. Rolle Jr. is a leading oral & maxillofacial surgeon, with strong ties to athletics and expertise in dental implants, wisdom tooth extraction, youth-capturing, cosmetic injectables, oral surgery and
cleft lip reconstruction in his Lake Norman, North Carolina practice.  Dr. Rolle holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame where he played varsity football under legendary Coach Lou Holtz.  He completed his oral surgery internship at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital and holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Meharry Medical College.  Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery is the official surgeon for the Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Checkers and Charlotte 49ers.

About the Charlotte Touchdown Club

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, North Carolina region.  Since its inception, the club has grown as well as diversified boasting a sponsor team of more than (80) companies.  The Club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding Citizenship, Scholarship, Sportsmanship, and Leadership of area athletes and coaches.  Through individual and corporate support, more than $2,000,000 has been raised to benefit the Touchdown
Club’s scholarship efforts.

About the FWAA

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of the 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 and an All-America team.  Through its website, the FWAA works to improve communication among all those who work
within the game. The FWAA also sponsors scholarships for aspiring writers and an annual writing contest.  There are now over 1,000 members.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards.  The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients.  For more information, visit the association’s official website, www.NCFAA.org.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is presented annually by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America to the nation’s most outstanding NCAA defensive football player at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet in Charlotte, N.C.  All proceeds benefit the Charlotte Touchdown Club Scholarship Fund.  For more information call 704-347-2918 or www.touchdownclub.com.

Call for entries in the 2019 Best Writing Contest

FWAA members may begin submitting entries in the FWAA’s 27th annual Best Writing Contest now.

CATEGORIES

  • Game Story (Immediate Deadline)
  • Feature Story/Profile
  • Enterprise/Investigative
  • Column/Analysis/Commentary

BEAT WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD

In addition, see below, we have created a special award for the top beat writer as judged by a special FWAA committee headed by Executive Director Steve Richardson.

WRITING CONTEST RULES

You must be an FWAA member in good standing to enter.

Deadline: June 1, 2019. Entries sent after the deadline WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Limit: One (1) article per category, although a series of articles may be submitted in the enterprise category.

Entries must have appeared in print or on line between Feb. 1, 2018 and Jan. 31, 2019.

Entries must be submitted electronically to contest@fwaa.com.

Entries not sent to this e-mail address will not be accepted

Send MS Word or text files only. DO NOT SEND HTML files, Word Perfect files, stories in other word processing software or links to stories on the Internet or electronic libraries

Make your entry easy to read by taking out unnecessary carriage returns (They can give your entry an odd look when opened by a judge’s word processing program)

Delete any embedded advertising, photos and cutlines from the files (The file should contain only your story and your identifying information)

At the top of each entry, the following information should be included:

  • Writer(s)
  • Publication or online service
  • Category
  • Date of publication
  • E-mail address and telephone number for the writer(s) of the entry

The entries will be sorted and stripped of identifying information and forwarded to the judge(s).

Files containing your entries should follow this naming convention: yourname-category.doc

The category must be one of these four words: Game, Feature, Enterprise or Column

Example: KenStephens-game.doc

FWAA BEAT WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD: If you have a nomination of a beat writer who covers major college football (either a team or a conference) or you want to nominate yourself, please send an e-mail/letter explaining the qualifications of the person (no more than 250 words) to:

Steve Richardson
FWAA Executive Director
18652 Vista del Sol
Dallas, TX 75287

Steve’s e-mail is tiger@fwaa.com. Steve and his committee will then make inquiries into the FWAA members nominated. In order to qualify for this award the person nominated must have been an FWAA member during the 2018 football season.

Questions? E-mail Ken Stephens at ken.stephens@sbcglobal.net.

President’s column: It all starts from the bottom 1

By Matt Fortuna

A funny thing happened when I visited my alma mater last spring.

While back at Penn State for a reunion, I was among a few alums asked to spend time with students at our school newspaper, The Daily Collegian. When told via email that the staff needed a little bit of an infusion of passion, I rolled my eyes and began muttering to myself all of the typical stereotypes of today’s college kids. You all know how this goes, because no matter the generation — or the field of work — the playbook of complaints from the jaded remains the same: How lazy these kids are. … How easy they have it.How much better things were in my day.

2019 FWAA President Matt Fortuna

And then Matt Brown, Michael Weinreb, Jim Buzinski and I sat down with about a dozen aspiring sports writers and quickly received an education of our own. Sure, us alums were there to talk and act as resources for kids who were about to enter a crowded job market. But the tables quickly turned, with us asking more questions of them than they were of us.

When most of us were in school and were lucky enough to have professionals speak to us, the conversations were, in many ways, one-way streets. That’s not to suggest that our speakers weren’t accommodating or helpful, because they were. But there was a certain way to make it in this business back then, a by-the-book hierarchy of sorts that rookies had better adhere to. Or else.

As we have all seen in the past decade or so in this ever-changing media climate, there are now many more acceptable ways to skin a cat. And the studs we met with on the second floor of the James Building in April were the perfect embodiments of that philosophy.

They showed us the social media innovation that they have used to engage with the student body. They explained the expanding media ecosystem of what has always been a small-but-competitive market. Most importantly — and without overstepping — they engaged with Matt, Mike, Jim and I about what they like and dislike the most about what folks like ourselves are doing out there in the real world, giving us a clearer picture of how we can connect with our audiences in our day jobs.

This is journalism today. Hell, this is football today — all of us who have been writing about RPOs and spread offenses for the past decade have been on the student side of that conversation, laughing as the pros in the NFL finally begin to embrace such verbiage in their relatively unimaginative football lexicon.

As the 76th president of the FWAA, it is my duty to keep pushing us into the future, adapting to the new-school ways of the business and spreading our mission to the journalists of tomorrow while honoring our storied past. I am here as a resource and, most of all, I am here to learn.

No one knows the ins and outs of our great sport better than you folks who are out there on campuses across America every day, and it is this collection of talent, experience and cooperation that makes the FWAA what it is. See a development out there that warrants recognition? Sense a better way for us to make a difference, be it with student-athlete exposure or our own working environments? Drop me a note at mfortuna@theathletic.com. I am lucky to enough to already call so many of you friends, and I am looking forward to developing more relationships throughout our membership body and hearing everyone’s perspective.

You see, that infusion of passion that I was told those students needed? It had nothing to do with their attitudes, as I had wrongly assumed. It turned out that they had just been chopped from a daily print operation to a twice-a-week print operation, while also being informed that Penn State was planning to demolish the paper’s headquarters of 30 years. I hadn’t heard about either development because no one there had bothered to complain about it. Instead, these kids took a harsh real-life industry lesson and viewed it as liberation from the constraints of the previous 130 years of the way things had been done.

Their dreams were, and are, greater than their memories. As this business continues to throw us curveballs, we could all serve to remember that life lesson.

Call for entries in the 2019 Best Writing Contest

FWAA members may begin submitting entries in the FWAA’s 27th annual Best Writing Contest now.

CATEGORIES

  • Game Story (Immediate Deadline)
  • Feature Story/Profile
  • Enterprise/Investigative
  • Column/Analysis/Commentary

BEAT WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD

In addition, see below, we have created a special award for the top beat writer as judged by a special FWAA committee headed by Executive Director Steve Richardson.

WRITING CONTEST RULES

You must be an FWAA member in good standing to enter.

Deadline: June 1, 2019. Entries sent after the deadline WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Limit: One (1) article per category, although a series of articles may be submitted in the enterprise category.

Entries must have appeared in print or on line between Feb. 1, 2018 and Jan. 31, 2019.

Entries must be submitted electronically to contest@fwaa.com.

Entries not sent to this e-mail address will not be accepted

Send MS Word or text files only. DO NOT SEND HTML files, Word Perfect files, stories in other word processing software or links to stories on the Internet or electronic libraries

Make your entry easy to read by taking out unnecessary carriage returns (They can give your entry an odd look when opened by a judge’s word processing program)

Delete any embedded advertising, photos and cutlines from the files (The file should contain only your story and your identifying information)

At the top of each entry, the following information should be included:

  • Writer(s)
  • Publication or online service
  • Category
  • Date of publication
  • E-mail address and telephone number for the writer(s) of the entry

The entries will be sorted and stripped of identifying information and forwarded to the judge(s).

Files containing your entries should follow this naming convention: yourname-category.doc

The category must be one of these four words: Game, Feature, Enterprise or Column

Example: KenStephens-game.doc

FWAA BEAT WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD: If you have a nomination of a beat writer who covers major college football (either a team or a conference) or you want to nominate yourself, please send an e-mail/letter explaining the qualifications of the person (no more than 250 words) to:

Steve Richardson
FWAA Executive Director
18652 Vista del Sol
Dallas, TX 75287

Steve’s e-mail is tiger@fwaa.com. Steve and his committee will then make inquiries into the FWAA members nominated. In order to qualify for this award the person nominated must have been an FWAA member during the 2018 football season.

Questions? E-mail Ken Stephens at ken.stephens@sbcglobal.net.

Photo gallery: Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year reception for UAB’s Bill Clark

Photos from the reception for Alabama-Birmingham Coach Bill Clark, winner of the 2018 FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. The reception was on Jan. 5, 2019, at the San Jose Marriott.

Photo gallery: FWAA Past Presidents Dinner

Photos from the FWAA Past Presidents Dinner Hosted by the National Football Foundation at the Silicon Valley Capital Club.

Photo gallery: FWAA Awards Breakfast

Photos from the annual FWAA Awards Breakfast on Jan. 7 at the San Jose Marriott.

Former Alabama, NFL RB Shaun Alexander is namesake of the FWAA’s Freshman of the Year Award

Shaun Alexander, namesake of the FWAA’s Freshman of the Year Award, and the award’s first winner, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Editor’s Note: Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was named the first annual FWAA Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year at the FWAA’S Annual Award Breakfast on Jan. 7 at the San Jose Marriott in conjunction with the CFP National Championship Game.

By Ron Higgins

When Shaun Alexander became the namesake of the FWAA’s Freshman of the Year Award several months ago, the Alabama and NFL star was honored.

But he also felt like it was something bigger than just an award. He believed the honor and its influence would touch many great athletes and families as they all traveled their sports and life journeys.

His involvement with the players could become an immense help to others and would be a natural fit for him, just like the day in the fourth grade he decided to become a running back after returning two kickoffs (and nearly a third) for touchdowns.

“Until that day, I was happy playing defense because I wanted to be a defensive playmaker like Deion Sanders,” Alexander recalled. “But because of all the attention after the game I got from friends and family, I asked my brother Durran what position scored the most touchdowns. When he told me `running back,’ then that’s

what I was from that day on.”

Durran, who later became a drummer in the famed Notre Dame marching band, probably thought he was just answering a question for his younger brother. But it turned out to be solid career guidance for Shaun, who became the all-time leading rusher in the history of Boone County (Ky.) High School, Alabama and the Seattle Seahawks.

“I’ve had great people around me all my life,” said Alexander, a successful 41-year-old entrepreneur, public speaker, and advisor to leaders in business, ministries, and philanthropy for the last 10 years since a barrage of injuries led to his quiet retirement from the NFL after one final season with the Washington Redskins. “It started with my family, some wonderful people at the University of Alabama and my Seattle mentors running backs coach Stump Mitchell, along with teammates Ricky Watters, Mack Strong, and Cortez Kennedy. I’ve been extremely blessed.”

Which is exactly why Alexander is thrilled to announce the FWAA’s first Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year in San Jose.

The winner receives a gold coin with the traits associated with the award displayed on one side: “Talent, Character, Ambassador, Legend, Faith, Passion, Focus, Leader.” On the other side of the coin, the phrases “Carry the Coin” and “Finish the Game”; are inscribed.

“If this award is named after me, how can I add who I am to it?” Alexander said when he was pondering how to make the honor significant.

Alexander answered his question by looking in the mirror.

The winners each year will have Alexander as a resource for advice and guidance for the rest of their careers and lives.

Alexander’s career is well documented. But almost every player on the 2018 FWAA Freshman All-American team was still in diapers when he permanently jumped into the national sports spotlight his freshman year at Alabama in 1996.

For about 10 seasons – two at Alabama and eight in the NFL with the Seahawks – there were few running backs on the planet better than No. 37.

No player in SEC history still has scored more rushing touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons combined – 32 – than Alexander did in 1998 and 1999.

Alexander’s 28 TDs (27 rushing, one receiving in 2005) still ranks at the second best in NFL history and he’s tied with Priest Holmes (Kansas City, 2003) for the second most rushing TDs (27) in an NFL season.

Alexander is the first and only Alabama running back ever to win the NFL rushing title (1,880 yards) in 2005.

He was the first running back in NFL to score 15 or more TDs in five consecutive seasons.

He was the first NFL running back to score 19 TDs (rushing and receiving) in only

10 games (2005).

He, Jim Brown and Jerry Rice are the only players in history to score five or more touchdowns in a game in college and in the NFL, and Alexander is believed to be the only player to score five TDs in a game in high school, college, and in the NFL (all TDs in the first half of a 2002 Sunday night game vs. Minnesota).

He was first Seahawks player ever to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

He holds 20 Seahawks records (all-time leading rusher 9,429 yards), 14 Alabama records (all-time rushing leader 3,565 yards and most yards in a game with 291 as

a freshman vs. LSU) and two Kentucky high school records.

Alexander is in a select group of nine running backs to win the rushing title the same season they were named the AP’s NFL Most Valuable Player and AP Offensive Player of the Year. The others are Pro Football Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson (1973), Walter Payton (1977), Earl Campbell (1978-79), Marcus Allen (1985), Barry Sanders (1997), Terrell Davis (1998) and LaDainian Tomlinson (2006) as well as Adrian Peterson (2012).

Alexander is the one of four former SEC running backs Jim Taylor (LSU/Green Bay), Emmitt Smith (Florida/Dallas) and Terrell Davis (Georgia/Denver) to be named the AP’s NFL Most Valuable Player. He’s also just one of two Alabama players (QB Bart Starr, Green Bay 1966) to win an AP NFL MVP honor.

Through all the success, Alexander kept his perspective, his sanity and his faith.

“When you finally become ‘the guy’ it happens so fast and is so big it can overwhelm everyone involved,” Alexander said. “My goals were to enjoy the moment, be thankful, still love the game, and get out of it still alive in life.

“It starts with faith and discipline and it all runs together. Faith is the substance of things that you hope for and the conviction of things that you don’t see. I could only put my true, faith and trust in things that were bigger than life, which is Jesus.”

Because of his strong religious faith that started with a solid foundation provided by his mother, Alexander has always had a servant’s heart. He established a foundation a month after his final college game, the 2000 Orange Bowl.

His biggest post-career mission, besides home-schooling and raising his nine children along with his wife Valerie, is providing career and life advice to others, including a special place in his heart for athletes taking same roads he once traveled.

It’s a major reason why Alexander is honored and eager to be the namesake of the FWAA’s Freshman of the Year.

“When you have been taught well, you don’t mind teaching,” Alexander said. “When somebody puts their arms around you, you don’t mind putting your arms around others. You use what you have been given.”

Alexander understands being a freshman in today’s college football is different than when he played.

“Kids now are positioning themselves for high school like it’s college, trying to find the high school that best benefits their careers,” Alexander said. “They understand at an early age the sacrifice it takes to be great.

“They lift and train and do drills with purpose and intensity. They study playbooks and schemes and break down film. They are more athletic. They have to deal with more criticism, especially from social media.”

The fact more and more incoming college signees are playing and starting as freshmen just speeds their thought process towards an NFL career after three years of college.

“Because college football is so big with all the lights and constant media attention, kids are sometimes deceived that more players are going to make it to the pros,” Alexander said. “That number is still small.

“And for the guys who do make it to the league, statistics show almost 80 percent of them are broke and/or depressed just two years after the end of their careers. They wrestle with their identity. They don’t understand football is just something they do, but it’s not who they are.”

It’s an area of life that Alexander is eager to help winners of his freshman award navigate.

“Freshmen are so young, they’re still teenagers,” Alexander said. “I got some help when I was young, but I would have loved to have had a little more insight on the field, off the field, how to handle fame, family, friendships, finances, and how to make plans for the future.

“I, my team of advisors from Legends Access, Living Well Family Office, and Soma along with my family, will walk the winners of my award through finding the answers to big questions, which are `Who am I really?’, `What is success?’ and `What are some good next steps to take?’

“Those answers are a little bit different for everybody on the planet. That’s the uniqueness of man.”

And of the FWAA’s Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award.