Former Navy star Chet Moeller named winner of Bronko Nagurski Legends Award 1

The Charlotte Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America and Florida East Coast Railway, proudly announced Tuesday that U.S. Naval Academy great Chet Moeller will be the recipient of the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, 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 presented by ACN on December 5th.

Chet Moeller

Chet Moeller

“Being recognized with the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award conjures up memories which will live with me forever. I’m thankful for the coaches who shaped me and the teammates who encouraged me and I’m overwhelmed to be considered in the same class of the past winners such as Bubba Smith, Randy Gradishar, Randy Rhino and others,” Moeller said.

“Congratulations to Chet Moeller on being named the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award recipient,” said James R. Hertwig, CEO of Florida East Coast Railway. “Chet’s performance on the field, in the classroom and in his service to our country in the United States Marine Corp was exceptional and this honor is well deserved. Florida East Coast Railway takes great pride in our support of the Charlotte Touchdown Club and its mission to promote Citizenship, Scholarship, Sportsmanship and Leadership.”

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Mark Anderson is FWAA’s 2016 president

(Ed. Note: Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal became the FWAA’s 2016 President in early January in Scottsdale, Ariz. Below is speech that he gave accepting the position during the FWAA Awards Breakfast at the media hotel. Mark, who covered UNLV football for a number of years, has moved to the basketball beat but will still report football periodically during the fall while serving as the FWAA President.)

2016 FWAA President Mark Anderson

2016 FWAA President Mark Anderson

 “Thank you all for this incredible honor. I am humbled to be so warmly welcomed by you not only the past few days, but the past two years after Tiger put me on the board. I remember how surprised I was at his invitation to eventually rise to president. Not only did I cover a team that wasn’t from a power conference, but I covered arguably the worst program in that league. Kirk Bohls (2014 FWAA President) later enlightened me on the importance of having diverse representation. Little did Tiger know, however, that I’m an SEC grad (from the University of Florida).

“This is a big day in many ways. It’s also my 17th anniversary at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and this has been a time for milestones. My wife and I each turned 50 in the fall, and our son — I mean, our straight-A student son — entered middle school. My paper was sold — twice. You might have heard about the second purchase. My 15th wedding anniversary is later this year.

“One of my colleagues, Ed Graney, takes over as President next year of the United States Basketball Writers Association. Another co-worker, Steve Carp, is a former USBWA President. To say I am proud of where I work would be an understatement.

“I’m honored to become the second Tallahassean to become President of the FWAA. The other one, Bill McGrotha (1990 FWAA President), was the long-time columnist of the Tallahassee Democrat, and I not only worked with Bill, I was his driver for Florida State football games. You knew you were walking with a celebrity when going through the Doak Campbell Stadium parking lot with Bill. He was almost as popular as Bobby Bowden.

“We all are a reflection of our upbringing, and I want to take a moment to talk about two great influences on my life and career.

“My dad is 96, and the past few months have been difficult with him going in and out of hospitals. But he’s the same fighter who survived pneumonia at the age of 12 or 13 after a doctor said he wouldn’t make it through the night. My dad also watched his parents lose all their savings in the Depression, and he never was able to get a college degree he so badly wanted. But my dad went on to become one of the world’s top civil engineers, overseeing the construction of dams all over the globe and giving my family the opportunity to experience so many cultures that most Americans miss out on.

“But the main influence on my career was my mom. She and I had season tickets for years to Florida State games before I later came to my senses and went to Florida. If the Seminoles happened to pull off a big victory, my mom would go downtown and buy the state papers. If she liked a particular passage — Hubert Mizell of the St. Petersburg Times was a particular favorite — she would read it aloud. I sometimes hear her voice when I write.

“We all know how important it is to have an understanding family with our crazy deadlines and constant travel, and I certainly have a wife and son who love and support me. Without them, it would be much more difficult to live out this crazy dream of writing about sports for a living.

“Thank you again for this privilege. I am excited about the challenges over the next year and about the opportunity to represent this great organization. You will get nothing but my best.”

Photo gallery: Outland Trophy presentation banquet

These pictures come from the banquet at which Stanford’s Joshua Garnett received his Outland Trophy on Jan. 14 in Omaha.  Randy White, the 1974 winner at Maryland, also received his trophy. Before 1988 winners received only a plaque. Since then Omaha’s Downtown Rotary has sponsored presentation of an Outland Trophy to one of the early winners each year.

Photo gallery: FWAA Past Presidents Dinner

Ten former presidents of the FWAA attended the annual Past Presidents Dinner on Jan. 8, 2016, at the Paradise Valley County Club outside Phoenix, Ariz.

The dinner was sponsored by the National Football Foundation and the American Sports Network.

Photo gallery: FWAA Awards Breakfast

These photos were taken at the FWAA’s annual Awards Breakfast on Jan. 11 in Scottsdale, Ariz.  Winners of the 2015 Best Writing Contest as well as the Bert McGrane Award winner were honored, among others.

Photo gallery: Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year reception for Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz

These photos were taken at a reception honoring Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz as winner of the FWAA’s Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.  The reception took place at the J.W. Marriott in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Jan. 9, 2016.

Denver Post’s Irv Moss gets FWAA Lifetime Achievement Award

 

Irv Moss of the Denver Post, center, receives a commemorative football in recognition of his Lifetime Achievement Award from 2015 FWAA President Lee Barfknecht, left, and Tim Simmons of BFI Events, right.  Photo by Melissa Macatee for the FWAA.

Irv Moss of the Denver Post, center, receives a commemorative football in recognition of his Lifetime Achievement Award from 2015 FWAA President Lee Barfknecht, left, and Tim Simmons of BFI Events, right. Photo by Melissa Macatee for the FWAA.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.— Longtime Denver Post writer Irv Moss received the FWAA Lifetime Achievement Award on Monday morning during the association’s annual awards breakfast at the College Football Playoff title game media hotel.

Moss, 81,  is a graduate of Denver West High School, and has covered events in the state of Colorado for 60 years.

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  • He is both a Ram and Pioneer as he attended both Colorado State and the University of Denver.
  • He is a U. S. Army veteran.
  • He has been covering sports in the “Centennial” state for seven decades (60 years).
  • He started writing sports for The Denver Post on February 8, 1956.
  • He has also covered the Winter and Summer Olympic Games.
  • He will be inducted this month into the Colorado High School Sports Hall-of-Fame.
  • He was a long-time member of the selection committee for the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
  • He has been nominated for the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
  • He still writes the “Colorado Classic” column for the Denver Post.
  • During his first of 46-seasons as the Air Force “beat” writer in 1970, the Falcons posted a 9-3 record, finished as the 16th ranked team in the country, defeated Stanford and Jim Plunkett 31-14 and played Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl.  That season, Stanford defeated No. 2 Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
  • He has covered five of the seven football coaches at Air Force, including Ben Martin, Bill Parcells, Ken Hatfield, Fischer DeBerry and now Troy Calhoun.
  • Bob Whitlow and Buck Shaw were the first two Air Force Academy coaches and he probably saw the Falcons play during their first three seasons of competition (1955, 1956 and 1957) when their games were at the University of Denver.
  • He has covered 20 of the 24 Air Force bowl games (10-10 record).
  • He is probably the only media person to cover every commander-in-chief trophy competition since the start of the series in 1972.
  • He has covered 84 CIC games as Air Force has won the trophy 19 times.
  • He has covered 28 of the 30 games in the Air Force-Notre Dame series.
  • He saw the Falcons defeat the Irish four-straight seasons (1982-1985).
  • He saw two Falcon squads ranked among the Top 10 (1985 and 1998, when Air Force finished 12-1 both seasons).
  • He covered the 1985 Air Force team that is considered the most successful season in Academy football history. The Falcons came within one win of playing for the national championship (Oklahoma vs. Penn State) as Air Force recorded 10 straight wins to start the season, climbed the polls to No. 2 in the nation, but lost to BYU by seven points in the next-to-last game of the regular season. Air Force rebounded with a bowl win over Texas in the Bluebonnet Bowl and finished as the No. 5 ranked team in the nation.
  •  Moss has covered everything from A to Z in the Rocky Mountain Empire.
  • That starts with Air Force Football ends with Zebulon’s failure to climb Pike’s Peak in 1806.
  • He covered Wyoming football and wrote about the Black 14 in 1969.
  •  Twenty years later, he helped break the story with the late Dick Connor about Bertram M. Lee and Peter C.B. Bynoe making sports history as the first African-American owners of a sports franchise (Nuggets).
  • He has been quoted in the book Freddie Steinmark: Faith, Family, Football — “If you’ve ever swatted at a fly with your hand, you know what the Lakewood High School football team faced when it tried to stop a 77-yard touchdown run by Wheat Ridge’s Fred Steinmark that whipped the Tigers.”  And to note, John Hancock coached Lakewood.

Volney Meece Scholarship goes to Danielle Hoover, daughter of FWAA member John Hoover

ffaw_redesignDanielle Hoover of the University of Tulsa was named the 19th winner of the Volney Meece Scholarship on Monday.

The scholarship is awarded annually by the Football Writers Association of America and named for the late Volney Meece. Meece served 22 years as the FWAA’s Executive Director and was the organization’s President in 1971.

The scholarship is a $1,000 annual grant for four years. It is awarded to a deserving son or daughter of an FWAA member.

The 19-year-old Hoover is the daughter of long-time FWAA member and Tulsa World columnist John Hoover.

Danielle has compiled an impressive list of academic and extracurricular achievements at Tulsa Union High School and TU. She maintained a 4.86 weighted GPA while taking a strenuous load of advanced placement classes throughout high school. She achieved a 4.0 GPA her first semester of college and earned enough credits to be a sophomore heading into the spring semester.

A member of the National Honor Society, Danielle volunteered for community service in several areas while also working as a kennel technician for an animal hospital. She played competitive soccer well enough on the high school and club levels to be named a second-team All-American, all-region and all-state.

In her freshman season playing for the Golden Hurricane, Danielle was named the American Athletic Conference rookie of the week after scoring the game-winning goal against Southern Methodist and assisting on the game-winner three days later against the University of Houston.

Danielle is majoring in biology at TU with an emphasis on pre-veterinary medicine.

Past winners of the Volney Meece Scholarship
1997  Brett Goering  Topeka, Kan.
1998  Kelly Brooks  Denver, Colo.
1999  James Butz  Schaumberg, Ill.
2000  Sara Barnhart  Atlanta, Ga.
2001  Patrick Davis  Coventry, Conn.
2002  Jacqueline O’Toole  Gaithersburg, Md.
2003  Garrett Holtz  Denver, Colo.
2004  Katie Hersom  Oklahoma City, Okla.
2005  Katie Wieberg  Lawson, Mo.
2006  Kaylynn Monroe  Winter Park, Fla.
2007  Nate Kerkhoff  Overland Park, Kan.
2008  Jack Caywood  Lawrence, Kan.
2009  Haley Dodd  Overland Park, Kan.
2010  Donald Hunt  Philadelphia, Pa.
2011  Alaina Martens  Papillion, Neb.
2012  Emily Alford  Tupelo, Miss.
2013  Sarah Helsley  Edmond, Okla.
2014 Robert Abramson Palos Verde, Calif.

Pillars of the FWAA: Volney Meece (1925-1995), Daily Oklahoman

ffaw_redesignThe Football Writers Association of America is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2015. Founded in 1941, the FWAA has served the writing profession and college football during a time when the world has changed greatly and the sport of football has along with it. In an effort to tell the stories of the members of the organization, we will publish sketches of the FWAA’s most important leaders — all Bert McGrane Award winners.

The Bert McGrane Award, symbolic of the association’s Hall of Fame, is presented to an FWAA member who has performed great service to the organization and/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 McGrane Award was first bestowed on an FWAA member in 1974.

For a list of all the winners go to:  http://www.sportswriters.net/fwaa/awards/mcgrane/index.html.

The following is the 25th installment of the Pillars of the FWAA series. Volney Meece was the 1992 winner of the Bert McGrane Award. Thanks to FWAA member Gene Duffey for writing and researching this sketch.

By Gene Duffey

Maybe it was appropriate that Volney Meece died of a heart attack at the 1995 CoSIDA Convention during a function at a casino in Black Hawk, Colorado. He and his wife, Lou, were eating a spaghetti dinner when he told her that he wasn’t feeling well. He was surrounded by SIDs and other support personnel from colleges and universities across the country.

Volney Meece, 1992 winner of the Bert McGrane Award.

Volney Meece, 1992 winner of the Bert McGrane Award.

“At least it happened here, where he was surrounded by longtime friends in the profession, people who respected him and loved him,” Debbie Copp, a longtime member of the Oklahoma Sports Information office staff, said at the time. “We’ve lost a legend. He was a very ethical, honorable man. College athletics has lost a heck of a man.”

Meece, who worked for 41 years at the Oklahoma City Times and Oklahoman, served as president of the FWAA in 1971 and then executive director of the organization for 22 years starting in 1973.

“He spent an enormous amount of time doing that,” said the late Bob Hersom, a colleague at the newspaper.

Meece attended Tonkawa High School, Northern Oklahoma Junior College and the University of Oklahoma. He served with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and began at the Oklahoman on Feb. 6, 1950, writing church news and obituaries. He moved over to the sports department in the mid-1950s.

“He was one of a kind, so helpful to younger writers,” said Hersom, who shared the Oklahoma City 89ers baseball beat with Meece for 14 years. “He was the kind of guy you instantly liked.”

Hersom and Meece also covered many Oklahoma football games together. Most readers couldn’t tell whether Meece went to Oklahoma or rival Oklahoma State. “The people at OSU liked him as much as the people at OU,” said Hersom.

Meece made a huge impact on the people in Norman. Former Sooners coach Barry Switzer, then coach of the Dallas Cowboys, drove to Oklahoma City for Meece’s memorial service. Howard Schnellenberger, another ex-Oklahoma coach, also attended along with OU quarterback Jack Mildren, Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens and legendary Oklahoma City basketball coach Abe Lemons.

“I truly loved Volney Meece,” said Owens. “Volney always treated me with great respect. From the moment I met him, I always felt like he was my friend. I think all of us (athletes) had a special feeling for Volney, like we had for no one else in the journalism business.”

“He liked Coors Light,” recalled Hersom. “They served Coors Light at the memorial service.”

Meece authored a book on the glory days at Oklahoma, titled: “Thirteen Years of Winning Oklahoma Football under Bud Wilkinson.”

He wrote his columns without ego.

“He was a humorous type of columnist,” said Hersom. “He used a lot of quotes. He wanted to present the person more than himself.”

Meece retired from the Oklahoman March 1, 1991. He continued his work for the FWAA until the day he passed away.

“Presidents (of the FWAA) came and went, and each had his way eased considerably by Volney’s familiarity with what had to be done and what should be done in the organization’s business,” said Bob Hammel, who succeeded Meece as executive director for one year. “Volney was one of those too fast disappearing links between today’s writers and the pioneers in the organization.”

In July 1994 Meece wrote a report about the status of the FWAA at the suggestion of Bill Lumpkin of the Birmingham Post-Herald. “Lumpkin … alertly noticed what I see daily in my mirror: I love awful,” wrote Meece.

The FWAA set up the Volney Meece Scholarship fund in 1997. The group presents $1,000 annually to the son or daughter of an FWAA member for up to four years of college.

“He truly was an amazing executive director,” said Steve Richardson, who became the FWAA executive director in 1996, succeeding Hammel. “He was doing the job in the days before the internet became the norm. I don’t know how he did it, communicating through mail and via phone. It is so much easier now. He also was a fanatic about notes and saving correspondence. He truly had some remarkable files that I inherited. They helped greatly.”