DALLAS (FWAA) – East Carolina's Thomas "Rock" Roggeman
is the weekly nominee for the 2009 FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage
Award, to be announced at the end of the season. Roggeman, the
Pirates' defensive tackles coach, has taken a medical leave of absence
while battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Roggeman, 46, in his fifth season as an ECU assistant, was diagnosed
with the cancer of the lymphatic system last summer. He continued
coaching while undergoing treatments, but left the team in late
September in order to undertake a more aggressive treatment plan.
"All I had to hear the doctor say, 'We can cure this,'" Roggeman
told the South Bend Tribune last summer. "When I got the
word, I was scared, I was humbled. … I don't complain. I don't make
this a burden on anyone, especially the team. I'm just gonna compete,
On Sept. 26, before East Carolina's 19-14 win over Central Florida,
Roggeman delivered the pregame remarks. East Carolina coach Skip
Holtz didn't provide specifics, but said, "It was not a 'Win-one-for-Rock' type of talk."
"It was very emotional, an inspiration," ECU quarterback Patrick
Pinkney told Bonesville.net. "A lot of people don't get the opportunity
to do what we do, and what coach 'Rock' is going through, that's
an inspiration to us.
"He's fighting for his life. That's more than the game of football.
We're praying for him and we're going to keep giving that determination
to win each and every week."
Roggeman, who played linebacker and nose guard at Notre Dame,
has dropped in on several Pirates' practices between treatments,
providing a lift to players and coaches.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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