DALLAS (FWAA) – The Tulane University Green Wave
football team has been named the winner of the 2005 Courage Award,
which is presented by the Football Writers Association of America
and the FedEx Orange Bowl.
Green Wave, displaced before the 2005 season because of Hurricane
Katrina, will wind up playing 11 games in 11 different stadiums.
Tulane, 2-8, will conclude a very trying 2005 season on Saturday
in a Conference USA game at Southern Mississippi.
"It's difficult to imagine any team enduring all the physical
and emotional adjustments Tulane has endured since August," said
FWAA president Alan Schmadtke. "Yet players went to class, practiced
and competed week after week and coaches put in all their customary
long hours of preparation. I know there haven't been as many wins
as the Green Wave wanted this year. But across Conference USA and
the country, Coach Scelfo's program made more of an impact on anyone
who watched Tulane play than even the Green Wave coaches and players
The Tulane football team actually was evacuated to Jackson, Miss.,
a few days before the 2005 season opener was to be played at Southern
Mississippi in Hattiesburg on Sept. 4 and was later postponed to
the end of the season. After a few days in Jackson, the team moved
to Dallas and eventually to Louisiana Tech University in Ruston,
La. It has remained headquartered there through the 2005 season.
"Everyone in the collegiate athletics community had Tulane University,
as well as other Gulf coast institutions, in their hearts and prayers
this summer," said Orange Bowl Committee CEO Keith R. Tribble. "We
are proud that the Football Writers Association of America chose
to honor the entire Green Wave football program with its annual
Courage Award. Playing in as many stadiums as games this season,
Tulane had a tremendous challenge that far outweighs wins and losses.
Every player, coach and administrator on that team is a winner by
The Tulane football team will receive a beautiful trophy with
a bronzed lion as the focal point. The Courage Award will be presented
to the team in January or February when it is expected to return
to New Orleans.
"This is a great award for our football team," said Tulane coach
Chris Scelfo. "Though our wins and losses are not where we wanted
them to be, to have 100 people see this season through is a great
testament to their character. Hopefully it will give people in the
Gulf Coast region the strength to keep believing and to put their
lives back together."
The Courage Award was created by FWAA member Gene Wojciechowski,
senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. A select group of writers from
the FWAA votes on the award. The requirements for nomination include
displaying some sort of courageous act, on or off the field including,
overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster
and living through a lifetime of hardships.
The first winner in 2002 was Toledo's William Bratton, who was
diagnosed with a blood disorder (a combination of sickle-cell and
thalassemia) when he was eight years old. He endured a life of chronic
and debilitating pain. The average life expectancy of African Americans
afflicted with this disease is the mid 40s. Despite the disorder,
Bratton was the starting tailback for the Rockets during the 2002
season until he suffered a fractured ankle in late October.
In 2003, San Jose State punt returner Neil Parry, a former walk-on,
won the Courage Award after suffering an almost certain career-ending
injury. Parry had part of his right leg amputated following a severe
break during a game against UTEP in 2000. The leg became infected,
requiring surgery. After several surgeries and setbacks, Parry made
his return to the field during a game against Nevada in the 2003
season with the help of a specially fitted prosthetic device. The
University of Memphis' Haracio Colen, a defensive tackle, became
the third person to win the award in 2004.
Colen, at the age of 15, witnessed a horrifying accident when
his father, Eddie, was instantly killed and his mother, Joyce, fatally
injured, in a car accident. Through his remaining high school years,
Colen struggled with his own psychological damage. With the help
of two aunts who picked up their belongings from Louisiana and Texas
and moved to Arkansas, Colen was shepherded through the ordeal and
received an opportunity to play college football at Memphis.
Tulane's football team followed in the great tradition of the
award in overcoming hardship and tragedy in the New Orleans area.
Some the players lost all of their belongings and their homes or
apartments because of Katrina. And much of the Tulane campus and
athletic facilities suffered water and other structural damage because
of the hurricane. "I want to thank the Football Writer's Association
and the Orange Bowl for recognizing our football team with this
year's Courage Award," said Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson.
"At the beginning of this season, we asked all of our teams to
carry the torch for Tulane University and the City of New Orleans
this semester, and they have done so with resilience and perseverance.
This team has accomplished a feat that no other group of student-athletes
has undertaken in the history of intercollegiate athletics, and
more importantly, served as a beacon of pride and a symbol of hope
for a university and a community that was left inoperable due to
the largest natural disaster in our nation's history. It will likely
be recorded as the greatest victory of their lifetimes. Hats off
to these remarkable young people!"
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,
The Orange Bowl Committee is a not-for-profit, 317-member,
all-volunteer organization that exists as a self-sustaining, independent
organization supporting and producing activities and events which
enhance the image, economy, and culture of South Florida. Among
the OBC core events are the Orange Bowl Festival, FedEx Orange Bowl
and World-Class Halftime Show, the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball
Classic, the Orange Bowl PATCH Beach Bash presented by the City
of Hollywood, the Miller-Lite Orange Bowl Tailgate Party, Boston
Market Orange Bowl Youth Football Championships and the Orange Bowl
Cheer & Dance Championships.
For more information regarding the 2005-06 Orange Bowl Festival
and its year-round schedule of events and promotions, go to the
OBC website at
the official site for all Orange Bowl Committee news, tickets, and
• FedEx Orange Bowl Courage