DALLAS (FWAA) – The Football Writers Assocation of
America is teaming with the FedEx Orange Bowl to present
the 2005 FWAA Courage Award to a worthy candidate in college
football. The winner of the fourth annual award is expected to be
announced in November.
Past winners of the Courage Award are Toledo running back William
Bratton (2002), San Jose State returner Neil Parry (2003) and Memphis
lineman Haracio Colen (2004).
first three Courage Awards were sponsored by ESPN The Magazine before
the Orange Bowl became the sponsor this fall.
Candidates must display a courageous action on or off the field,
overcome an injury or physical handicap, prevent a disaster or live
through a lifetime of hardship. Below are candidates for the 2005
award, which honors someone in college football on any level who
shows great courage in the face of adversity.
• Chris Carlisle, USC strength coach: He learned he had
Hodgkin's Disease in December 2000, began radiation treatments in
Tennessee (where he was still the Volunteers' associate strength
and conditioning coach) and was hired by USC in February 2001. He
kept his illness a secret except to Trojan head coach Pete Carroll
while continuing treatments in Tennessee and at USC/Norris Comprehensive
Cancer Center and Hospital. Doctors told him in the summer of 2001
that the cancer was in remission. He informed the USC players of
his ordeal at the start of fall 2001 camp.
• Lance Everson, Houston linebacker: Was a non-qualifier
out of high school in 2001, so he paid his own way to UH-Downtown,
which is a separate campus from the University of Houston. He overcame
a broken jaw during the spring of 2004 and the subsequent loss of
30 pounds and still was able to start the season opener against
Rice later that fall. This past spring he suffered a devastating
injury to his knee that required surgery, but he has rehabilitated
his knee to the point that the doctors, trainers and coaches feel
he can contribute this fall, maybe around late October.
• Victor Harris, Virginia Tech cornerback: Suffered third-degree
burns on the day Tech coach Frank Beamer was coming to his house
for a recruiting visit. He has small scars on his face, skin grafts
on his hip and, of course, that marred right forearm. His left forearm
really tells the story. There lies the tattooed image of his mother's
face. Ten days after Beamer's visit, five days after Harris committed
to the Hokies, Maritza Harris died. She fainted at home on Christmas
Day and passed away at the hospital. She was 43.
• Lamar Herron, Oregon State free safety: His mother died
of cancer in April 2001 and his father died of a heart attack seven
months later. He was the man of the house at age 12 with his father
away. Herron took care of his ailing mother and younger sister before
his mother died. At 16, Lamar lived out of a suitcase, moving in
first with a teammate, then a Natomas assistant coach, and finally
with Joe Daniels, a rival coach in the same conference who now is
the head coach at Natomas. But he overcame all of this and played
at Oregon State in 2004.
• Ray Lamb, Temple defensive back: Completed a miraculous
comeback last season when he was in the starting lineup versus Florida
A&M on Sept. 18. Lamb suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament
in his right knee just five months earlier during the Cherry & White
spring game on April 24, 2004. Initially, a doctor's prognosis placed
Lamb's return for summer 2005 after Lamb underwent surgery on May
20. His hard work and dedication gradually moved-up his return date
and he started six games.
• Wali Lundy, Virginia running back: Wali Lundy, the youngest
of four brothers, grew up without parents. When he was three, his
father died at age 30 from a stroke, while his mother passed away
from breast cancer just three years later. Wali and his brothers
were raised by their grandparents. In addition to all the passings,
Lundy had health problems as a youngster. At age four, he was rushed
to the hospital with appendicitis and endured emergency surgery.
As an eighth grader, Lundy had another surgery for an intestinal
block in his bowels, one that would save his life. He has focused
on school work and football.
• Thomas Parker, Florida Atlantic wide receiver: Parker
was part of the initial recruiting class at Florida Atlantic. His
career was rapidly developing until he stopped one summer night
to help a stranded motorcyclist. While helping, he was hit by an
on coming car. His jaw and elbow were broken. He returned to the
field a year later, not able to fully extend his arm, but has worked
very hard. In the spring of 2005 his mother passed away and he was
forced to withdraw from school to help take care of his family.
He returned this summer and has worked all summer and preseason,
not knowing whether the NCAA would grant him a sixth season. That
came through just five days before the first game.
• Deljuan Robinson, Mississippi State defensive lineman:
Robinson, who originally signed with MSU in 2002, did not enroll
that fall because of open heart surgery in August 2002. He joined
the Bulldogs for the opening of the 2003 season, but had tragedy
strike once again. Robinson's brother, Jerrell, was killed in an
(Continued from page 1) automobile accident. Despite those setbacks,
Robinson played in 11 of the Bulldogs' 12 games during the 2003
• Brandon Rollins, Arkansas State defensive end: He was
academically ineligible and sat out the 2002 season and was continuing
his workouts in the weight room when tragedy struck. Brandon was
in a dorms at ASU on the third floor preparing to take the elevator
downstairs to wash his laundry. The doors opened without the elevator
being there and Brandon plummeted three flights down the elevator
shaft, shattering his body. His left side was decimated by the fall.
Doctors advised Brandon to turn his back on football. He sat out
2003 but played last fall and is listed as a second-string left
end this fall.
• Mike Tepper, California offensive lineman: Sustained
broken fibula and torn ankle ligaments when he stepped in front
of a car to protect a female Cal volleyball player who was being
harassed by men in the car. The car ran over Tepper on purpose,
and two men were arrested.
• Tulane Green Wave: Completely uprooted from its New
Orleans campus because of the destruction of Hurricane Katrina,
the Tulane team has been a vagabond group, which first had to relocate
to Jackson, Miss., then Dallas and finally Ruston, La., where the
team has headquartered at Louisiana Tech during the entire first
semester. Tulane has played home games at various sites around the
state of Louisiana and one game in Alabama, Many of the players
are without homes back in New Orleans and had the emotional turmoil
of fearing for their friends and relatives' safety at the onset
of their evacuation. Yet all the players, some of whom had only
the clothes on their backs when they left New Orleans, have endured
and focused on football.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit
organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 900 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, a national poll and its annual All-America team.
For more information about the FWAA Courage Award, contact Executive
Director Steve Richardson (972-713-6198,
• FedEx Orange Bowl Courage