California youth named winner of Volney Meece Scholarship 1

Robert Abrahamson, a senior at Chadwick Prep School in Palos Verdes, Calif., was named the 18th winner of the Volney Meece Scholarship on Tuesday.

The scholarship is awarded annually by the Football Writers Association of America and is 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 18-year-old Abrahamson is the son of long-time FWAA member Alan Abrahamson.

Robert has compiled an impressive list of academic achievements and extracurricular activities. A National Merit finalist who scored a perfect 2400 SAT score on his first attempt, Robert has maintained a 4.44 weighted GPA while taking a strenuous load of advanced placement classes throughout his high school career.

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NFF’s Steve Hatchell named recipient of FWAA Bert McGrane Award

At FWAA Past Presidents Dinner on Friday night at the Dallas Country Club, the National Football Foundation's Steve Hatchell (left) was surprised with the word he was the 2015 FWAA Bert McGrane winner. FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardsonl (center) and Ivan Maisel, an FWAA Past President, look on.  (Melissa Macatee photo)

At FWAA Past Presidents Dinner on Friday night at the Dallas Country Club, the National Football Foundation’s Steve Hatchell (left) was surprised with the word he was the 2015 FWAA Bert McGrane winner. FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardsonl (center) and Ivan Maisel, an FWAA Past President, look on. (Melissa Macatee photo)

DALLAS — The Football Writers Association of America announced Tuesday that National Football Foundation President and CEO Steve Hatchell has been named the 2015 recipient of the FWAA Bert McGrane Award.

“Steve Hatchell has been a great friend of the FWAA for a number of years,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “The National Football Foundation has sponsored a Past Presidents Dinner for the Association for several years and now is a co-sponsor of the Grantland Rice Super 16 Poll, which had a successful first-year run. The two organizations have partnered to stage a Football Forum in the past. That’s not to mention the association the FWAA has with several awards in the College Football Hall Fame, for a long time in South Bend and now in Atlanta, and the NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.”

The official announcement was made during the annual FWAA Annual Awards Breakfast at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel in front of the FWAA members and the national media that had assembled to cover the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, which had taken place the previous day.

“We have a small but powerful team at the National Football Foundation that has been together for more than eight years and cares deeply about the sport, including Matthew Sign, Ron Dilatush, Hillary Jeffries, Philip Marwill, Will Rudd and Sue Tuggle,” said Hatchell. “The success of the Foundation has only been possible because of the support and vision of a great board of directors, and they have has allowed us to keep the staff together and make it happen.

“I am deeply touched by this honor. I have watched the presentation of this award since the early 1970s working at the Big 8 Conference, and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be recognized alongside some of the greatest writers and advocates in college football. My appreciation of this honor is beyond words. All I can say is thank you, and I feel blessed to be able to count many of the football writers among my dear friends.”

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Tim May Wins FWAA Beat Writer of Year Award

DALLAS –Veteran Columbus Dispatch reporter Tim May has been named  the winner of the 2014 FWAA Beat Writer of the Year Award for his superb coverage of the Ohio State Buckeyes, who played in the first College Football Playoff  Title Game here.

The FWAA’s Beat Reporter of the Year Award is based on a comprehensive look at the way a person covers the beat and encompasses all categories of coverage over a period of time. May was recognized at the FWAA’s Annual Awards Breakfast at the media hotel in Dallas on Tuesday, the morning after the Buckeyes faced Oregon in the title game at AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington.

May has been a sports writer at the Columbus Dispatch since 1976, covering all manner of events from a few Super Bowls to a few national Putt-Putt tournaments. He has been on the Ohio State beat since 1984.

“I’m honored and humbled to receive this award,” May said. “Most of us local guys just bang away, day to day, but covering Ohio State football for 31 seasons has been quite the rollercoaster ride, from the Rose Bowl to the toilet bowl and back up again. As I’ve always said, I’d have the greatest job in the world if I didn’t have to write.”

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TCU’s Patterson praised for ‘class’ after playoff snub

DALLAS — Even with their football season over, Gary Patterson and TCU continue to score points.

Patterson accepted the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award from the Football Writers Association of America on Saturday night at the Renaissance Hotel, headquarters for the national championship game.

It gave him a chance, since a national media audience was asking, to talk about why he took the “high road” and avoided politicking for a spot in the four-team playoff or complaining when the one-loss Horned Frogs were left out.

“I just felt there’s never going to be a perfect system, and I just watch, whether it’s politics or it’s football, nowadays all we do is cut everybody down,” he said. “I felt like I had a great opportunity to do something right for a change. That’s why I did it.”

Photo gallery: FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year reception

TCU Coach Gary Patterson received the FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on Saturday Jan. 10 in Dallas. Photos by Melissa Macatee.

Armed Forces Merit Award winners Rodriguez, Boyer in Dallas for championship game

Armed Forces Merit Award recipient headlines FWAA breakfast

DALLAS — With the collegiate football season concluding here Monday with the College Football Playoff’s National Championship game in nearby Arlington at AT&T Stadium, one of the final awards of the 2014 will be presented Tuesday to 27-year old Army veteran who played the past three seasons at Clemson University

Daniel Rodriguez will receive the 2014 Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America at the writer’s group annual breakfast Tuesday (January 13) in the Landmark Ballroom at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel.  The 8 a.m. breakfast will be followed by the press conference with the winning coach and top players from Monday’s title game featuring the University of Oregon and The Ohio State University.

Brant Ringler, the executive director of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, and Kirk Bohls, the president of the FWAA, will present the award to Rodriguez, who was named the third recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award this past November on Veteran’s Day.

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President’s column: Longtime Texas SID Bill Little to receive FWAA Lifetime Achievement Award

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls

Bill Little always longed to come home.

Not to Winters, Texas, his dusty West Texas hometown south of Abilene, but back to Austin and his beloved alma mater.

And so during the end of a short stint as sports editor of the Associated Press Bureau in Oklahoma City, he figured he’d address that longing. He noticed an opening in public relations at the University of Texas and telephoned Darrell Royal and told the legendary head football coach he’d like to return.

Royal basically asked one question: How fast could he get to Austin?

Former Texas Sports Information Director Bill Little

Former Texas Sports Information Director Bill Little

So at age 26, Little packed his bags and returned to Austin where he had once worked for The Daily Texan school newspaper, volunteered at the sports information office as a student and then covered high school football for $50 a month at the Austin American-Statesman. The move allowed him to continue a life-long and unabated love affair.

In March of 1968, he became an understudy to the iconic Jones Ramsey in the sports information department and would work at a job he loved for 47 football seasons, serving five head football coaches, five head basketball coaches and two baseball coaches during that span. He has been inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor, the CoSIDA Hall of Fame and the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame in Abilene and won numerous awards for his writing.

He broadcast more than 1,700 baseball games, took in 527 consecutive football games and didn’t miss one until this season’s football game against UCLA in the second week in September after he’d worked the season-opener as the public-address announcer. He officially retired at the end of August.

“My wife, Kim, and I sat down after DeLoss (Dodds) and Mack (Brown) left,” Little said, referring to the long-time, highly regarded Longhorn athletic director and head football coach. “I turned 72 in March, and it just seemed the right time with a new staff coming in. So I stepped away.”

For his highly regarded career and deep involvement in the lives of so many athletes, coaches, sportswriters and fans, Little touched a lot of lives and is being honored as the second winner of the FWAA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and will be celebrated at the annual FWAA Annual Awards Breakfast Jan. 13 at the media hotel in Dallas on the morning after the national championship game.

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Duke’s Tomlinson wins Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award, aspires to be a doctor

DALLAS Duke offensive guard Laken Tomlinson is the winner of the 2014 Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.

Tomlinson, a 6-3, 330-pound senior from Chicago (Lane Tech), has started 51 consecutive games and has helped the Blue Devils (9-3) score 390 points this season, the third-most in program history. Duke’s offensive line leads the country in fewest tackles-for-loss per game allowed with just 3.33 and has surrendered just 13.0 sacks, tied for the 13th fewest in the nation.

Duke offensive guard Laken Tomlinson (center) accepts the Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award from Matt Morrall of the Orange Bowl and FWAA member David Hale of ESPN.com.

Duke offensive guard Laken Tomlinson (center) accepts the Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award from Orange Bowl Committee member Matt Morrall and FWAA member David Hale of ESPN.com.

But Tomlinson just making a college roster and winding up in Durham was a challenge. Duke’s current football captain offers a slightly different version of the “The Blind Side,” the famous story of Michael Oher, who came from a broken family in Memphis, lived in numerous foster homes, and eventually became a star offensive tackle at Ole Miss and went on to the NFL.

“I am both grateful and humbled to be honored by the Football Writers Association of America and the Orange Bowl with this award,” said Tomlinson, who will finish his Duke career against Arizona State in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Dec. 27. “My mother has been the greatest influence on my life, and none of this recognition would be possible without her sacrifice, love and support.

“It means the world to me to make her proud. If not for her, I could still be in Jamaica, living a life of poverty. Every time I go home or have an opportunity to talk to my mother, she always tells me before she hangs up, ‘Laken, I love you and I’m extremely proud of you and everything that you do for our family. Keep doing what you are doing. The Lord has a plan for you, Laken.'”

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College Football Awards Show moving to Hall of Fame in Atlanta next year

HOF entrance

College Football Hall of Fame

ATLANTA – Beginning in 2015, each year’s college football stars will be honored at the home of the game’s greatest legends as The Home Depot College Football Awards will move to the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience in downtown Atlanta as part of a new multi-year agreement between ESPN and the Hall of Fame.  Airing live on ESPN on December 10, 2015, The Home Depot College Football Awards will feature the presentation of nine of the most prestigious accolades in college football and pay tribute to the remarkable successes of each year’s standout student-athletes both on and off the field.  The 45-yard-long indoor football field at the new 94,000-square-foot attraction doubles as a fully-functioning event facility and will serve as the show’s new home.

“Disney gave us a wonderful home for The Home Depot College Football Awards for more than two decades. Now, the National Football Foundation and the College Football Hall of Fame will provide us the opportunity to enhance both our coverage and the experience for attendees and fans. The show and this new venue are not only a natural fit, but a great way to mark 25 years of ESPN televising the awards,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN senior vice president, programming and acquisitions.

The Home Depot College Football Awards celebrates exceptional student-athletes, and there’s no more fitting venue for this prestigious ceremony than at our spectacular new facility, which celebrates college football every day,” said John Stephenson, president & CEO of the College Football Hall of Fame.  “The Hall of Fame was designed, built and wired for premier broadcast events like this, and we will honor this decision to move the show by providing exceptional hospitality and a celebratory experience to the players, their families, coaches and fans.”

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TCU’s Patterson wins 2014 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

DALLAS  – Texas Christian University’s Gary Patterson has been named the winner of the 2014 FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award in the first year of the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s presenting sponsorship. Patterson  is the eighth coach to claim the writers’ award at least twice. Two-time winners are Nick Saban (LSU, Alabama), Lou Holtz (Arkansas, Notre Dame), Darrell Royal (Texas), John McKay (USC) and Johnny Majors (Pittsburgh) as two-time winners of the 58-year-old National Coach of the Year Award. Woody Hayes (Ohio State) and Joe Paterno (Penn State) each won the award three times.

“I’d like to thank the Football Writers Association of America,” said Patterson, the winningest football coach in TCU history (131-45). “I’m very honored and humbled to be a part of such a great award and the man it represents.”

TCU Coach Gary Patterson

TCU Coach Gary Patterson

Patterson’s 2014 TCU team, after being picked to finish seventh by the media before the season, claimed a share of the Big 12 Conference football title in only its third season in the league. Rebounding from a 4-8 record in the 2013 season, the Horned Frogs (11-1 overall, 8-1 in the Big 12) finished sixth in the final College Football Playoff rankings. TCU will meet No. 9 Ole Miss in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31 in Atlanta.

The Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award will be highlighted during a reception at the Renaissance Hotel on Jan. 10, 2015, in Dallas, where Patterson will accept the Eddie Robinson bust at the College Football Playoff National Championship Game media hotel. He will place it alongside the bust he won five seasons ago.

Patterson, in his 14th season as the Horned Frogs’ head coach, also claimed the Eddie Robinson Award in 2009 when TCU won a Mountain West Conference championship, played in the Fiesta Bowl and finished with a 12-1 record and No. 6 ranking. Patterson was also a finalist for the award in 2003 and 2010. Previous to Patterson, the last Big 12 coach to win the award was Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy in 2011.

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