DALLAS (FWAA) – UCLA's Derrick Coleman is the weekly
nominee for the 2009 FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award,
to be announced at the end of the season.
The sophomore running back from Fullerton, Calif., has overcome
a severe hearing disability, which is the result of a genetic defect.
He began wearing hearing aids at age 4, shortly after it was discovered
he was nearly completely deaf.
Coleman hasn't let the disability deter him from earning a scholarship
and contributing. He wears hearing aids during practices and games,
and long ago learned to read lips.
"Derrick has never used his hearing as an excuse or a crutch,"
his father, Derrick Coleman Sr., told The Los Angeles Times.
"That is what I'm proudest of."
Coleman Jr. was UCLA's second-leading rusher last year, as a
true freshman. Through six games this season, he's again the Bruins'
second-leading rusher and also contributes on special teams.
When he speaks to students with similar disabilities, he brings
a positive message – and an example.
"My message is that they shouldn't be embarrassed about wearing
their hearing aids," Coleman said. "Hopefully, listening to my experiences
can help them overcome their fears and achieve their goals."
Coleman also told the LA Times, "Don't let anyone tell
you what you can or cannot do. There are no limits."
the fourth straight year, the Football Writers Association of America
and the FedEx Orange Bowl will announce a weekly nominee each Wednesday
during the season. A blue-ribbon panel will determine the winner
from all of the nominees. The winner of the FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA
Courage Award will be announced in December and be presented with
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 Tulsa's Wilson
Holloway (2008), 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
The Orange Bowl Committee is a not-for-profit, 330-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 . The Orange
Bowl Festival features a year-round schedule of events culminating
with the FedEx Orange Bowl on January 5, 2010. In 2013, the OBC
will again double-host both the FedEx Orange Bowl and the BCS National
Championship. Other OBC core events include the MetroPCS Orange
Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance, Orange
Bowl International Tennis Championships and Orange Bowl Sailing
Regatta Series. For more information on the 2009-10 Orange Bowl
Festival and its events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities
through the Ambassador Program, log on to
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization
founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,100 men and women 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 gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America
team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve
Richardson at email@example.com or 972-713-6198.
2009 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Sept. 23: D.J. Williams, Arkansas
• Sept. 30: Mark Herzlich, Boston College
• Oct. 7: Darius Nall, UCF
• Oct. 14: Ricky Rosas, USC
• Oct. 21: Derrick Coleman, UCLA
• Oct. 28: Connecticut Huskies
• Nov. 4: Antoine "Shaky" Smithson, Utah
• Nov. 11: Dan Potokar, Ohio State
• Nov. 18: Thomas "Rock" Roggeman, East Carolina