Congratulations to the ‘Magnificent Seven’ 1

The only seven writers who have covered all 16 BCS championship games.

The only seven writers who have covered all 16 BCS championship games.

Only seven writers — all of them FWAA presidents past or present — have covered all 16 BCS championship games. The group gathered for this photo on the field at the Rose Bowl early Monday evening before the title game between Florida State and Auburn. They are, left to right, Tony Barnhart, Ivan Maisel, current president Chris Dufresne, Dick Weiss, Dennis Dodd, Mark Blaudschun and Blair Kerkhoff.

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Art Spander honored at his 61st consecutive Rose Bowl 1

spander rose bowl vault

FWAA 2013 President Chris Dufresne presented a copy of the “Rose Bowl Vault” to Art Spander in recognition of his attending his 61st consecutive Rose Bowl game on Jan. 1.

To read Chris’ column on Spander’s remarkable streak, CLICK HERE.

Photo courtesy of Malcolm Moran.

San Jose State’s Larceval receives FWAA Courage Award

Courage Award 2013

San Jose State’s Anthony Larceval (left), the 2013 winner of the FWAA’s Courage Award, joins 2012 Courage Award winner Daniel Rodriguez of Clemson after the award presentation at the Orange Bowl Coaches Luncheon on Jan. 2 in Miami. Photo by Ken Ruinard of the Anderson (S.C.) Mail Call.

From the San Jose Mercury News

MIAMI — Anthony Larceval is shaking a lot of hands, meeting a lot of people and his whereabouts are being constantly monitored by chauffeurs.

And the now former San Jose State defensive lineman is enjoying all of it.

“It’s been great,’ said Larceval, who on Thursday was formally awarded the Football Writers Association of America Courage Award at a luncheon previewing Friday’s Orange Bowl between Clemson and Ohio State.

“After going through such a tough year — probably the toughest of my young life — it’s been great,” he said. “It’s been awkward to be rewarded and recognized like this for such adversity, but I’ll take it.”

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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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Dick Weiss reinvents himself after layoff

Dick Weiss

Dick Weiss

Former FWAA President Dick Weiss was interviewing Penn State coach Bill O’Brien last May in New York when he got a call from his office at the New York Daily News, informing him that he was being laid off.

But what seemed at the time to be a devastating end to a distinguished career soon proved instead to be merely a reset.

You’ve heard of survival of the fittest? This is survival of the nicest.

To read the Seth Davis’ entire story for SI.com, click here.

College football yearbook available 1

CFACoverCollege Football America Yearbook/Encyclopedia, published by FWAA member Kendall Webb, includes information on all college football programs in the United States and Canada including all NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, CCCAA and CIS programs along with an update on College Club Football, Postgraduate Prep Academies and One-Year Sports Academies, along with an annual update on Mexico’s college football scene. It covers the entire scope of North American College Football. The book is printed by Amazon.com and is available through major retailers, including Barnes & Noble. It’s also available in a digital PDF version.

Eddie Robinson Jr. dies after heart transplant

Eddie Robinson Jr.

Eddie Robinson Jr.

DALLAS — Eddie Robinson Jr., 70, son of the late and legendary Grambling State University football coach Eddie Robinson, passed away on Wednesday evening at Baylor Hospital in Dallas after complications from a heart transplant.

Eddie Robinson Jr., is a former Grambling State football player and assistant coach and one of two children of Eddie Robinson, the winningest coach in Division I history. Eddie Robinson Jr. was a longtime friend of the Fiesta Bowl, which for 16 years has collaborated with the Football Writers Association of America to choose the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year.

“The Fiesta Bowl mourns the loss of a valued friend and extends its condolences to the Robinson family and Grambling State University,” the Fiesta Bowl said in a statement. “Eddie Jr. worked tirelessly to preserve his father’s legacy through the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, and his remarks were always a highlight of the annual award presentation.”

“With Eddie Jr., it was never if he would do something for his father’s legacy, it was always when and where,” FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson said. “In his own right, Eddie Jr. was an astute football mind and had a keen interest in college football and the coaches who were selected as finalists for the award each year. His input was always welcome and will be sorely missed moving forward. Besides his influence on the award, he was a supporter of what was good in college football.”

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Joe Doyle’s double life

By Eric Hansen/South Bend Tribune

Joe Doyle

Joe Doyle

For years, they talked every Monday over breakfast about almost everything but the thread that pulled them together in the first place, Notre Dame football.

Politics, world geography, family, life – and one day sorting through the news of a plane crash in some far off place.

That’s the first time Notre Dame coaching icon Ara Parseghian got a glimpse of Joe Doyle’s double life.

“It was years into our relationship,” Parseghian said of his longtime friend, who chronicled the College Football Hall-of-Famer’s 11 seasons in South Bend (1964-1974). “And it really came up in passing. But once he mentioned it, I had lots of questions for him, because I found it so fascinating, his double career.”

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Helpful hints: Send us your advice for making the best of stadiums, cities on the road

In this is a section of The Fifth Down we will post information from FWAA members that will help other members to cover games or enrich their experiences, such as good restaurants near stadiums, easy routes to the games or good places to stay in certain cities. It could also include interesting experiences writers have had in certain college towns or sights to see.  Please send your Helpful Hints to Executive Director Steve Richardson at tigerfwaa@gmail.com or Ken Stephens at ken.stephens@sbscglobal.net.