DALLAS (FWAA) – Tulsa's Wilson Holloway is the
winner of the FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Holloway,
a redshirt freshman offensive lineman from Oklahoma City, has battled
cancer since last spring, when a softball-sized mass was discovered
in his chest.
Holloway will be presented the award at the BCS Championship
Game on Jan. 8 in Miami. He will also be honored that day at the
Football Writers Association of America's annual awards breakfast.
"I don't think anyone sets their goal at the beginning of the
year that, 'Boy, I hope I win the Courage Award,'" said Tulsa co-offensive
coordinator Herb Hand. "But … I can't think of a better guy to get
it. On top of that, once he whips this cancer, he'll be a tremendous
player for us and he'll be an inspiration to a bunch of people."
After Holloway was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, he underwent
chemotherapy treatment throughout the spring and returned to play
for the Golden Hurricane this season on special teams and in a reserve
Last October, however, tests on a swollen lymph node showed the
cancer had returned. He began a treatment cycle that included two
rounds of chemotherapy with three-week breaks between, followed
by five straight days of treatment during which he was sequestered
in the hospital.
Despite the cancer, Holloway played in six games – including
one game (Oct. 26 vs. Central Florida) after he had begun treatment.
When he began losing his hair, his fellow offensive linemen shaved
their heads. Hand did, as well.
His coaches and teammates say through it all, Holloway has remained
optimistic and determined.
"The natural thing a person asks in that situation is, 'Why me?'"
Hand said. "Whether Wilson has ever asked himself that or not, you'd
never know just because of the way he's handled it. He's shown an
unbelievable courage and a great spirit and attitude."
"There's a light on the other side," Holloway told the Tulsa
World. "I'm keeping an upbeat, positive spirit about it. God doesn't
put anything on us that we can't handle. That's the one reason that
I've been so calm about it."
"We're extremely proud of Wilson's courage and his faith," Tulsa
coach Todd Graham said. "His example to our team has been absolutely
outstanding. We're so excited for him to be honored this way with
the Courage Award. It's an unbelievable reflection on such a great
human being. He's been a tremendous example to everyone on how to
face adversity and that's with an unbelievable faith and determination.
He's got a spirit that is extremely unique and has been an inspiration
to our team."
the third straight year, the Football Writers Association of America
and the FedEx Orange Bowl announced a weekly nominee each Wednesday
during the season. A blue-ribbon panel determined the winner from
all of the nominees.
The Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine's senior writer
Gene Wojciechowski, also a FWAA member. A select group of writers
from the FWAA vote on the winner each year. The requirements for
nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including
overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster
or living through hardship.
Previous winners of the FWAA's Courage Award are Navy's Zerbin
Singleton (2007), Clemson's Ray Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane
football team (2005), Memphis' Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's
Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).
Celebrating its 75th anniversary, the Orange Bowl Committee
is a not-for-profit, 333-member, primarily-volunteer organization.
It is a self-sustaining, independent organization that supports
and produces activities and events that enhance the image, economy
and culture of South Florida. In addition to the 75th edition of
the Orange Bowl Festival, which features a year-round schedule of
events culminating with the FedEx Orange Bowl on January 1, the
Orange Bowl Committee will host the 2009 FedEx BCS Championship
Game on January 8. For more information on the 2008-09 Orange Bowl
Festival and its events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities,
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit
organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,000 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 in the FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award,
contact George Schroeder at 541-953-4080 or
2008 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Sept. 10: Artrell Woods, Oklahoma State
• Sept. 17: Terence Campbell, East Carolina
• Sept. 24: Johnell Neal, Central Florida
• Oct. 1: Wilson Holloway, Tulsa
• Oct. 8: Inquoris "Inky" Johnson, Tennessee
• Oct. 15: Richard Bowman, North Dakota State
• Oct. 22: Tyson Gentry, Ohio State
• Oct. 29: Chris Ogbonnaya, Texas
• Nov. 12: Robert Quinn, North Carolina
• Nov. 19: Brandon Antwine, Florida