DALLAS (FWAA) – The University of Connecticut football
team has been named the winner of the 2009 FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA
Courage Award. The Huskies persevered throughout the 2009 season
after the tragic death of starting cornerback Jasper Howard.
The award will be presented at Orange Bowl festivities, including
the annual coaches' luncheon Jan. 4 and at the game Jan. 5.
"The entire University of Connecticut football family is very
honored to receive the FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award," UConn
coach Randy Edsall said. "Jasper Howard will always live in our
thoughts and memories. I am very proud of my team and the way they
responded to the tragedy of Jasper's death. Their perseverance both
on and off the playing field was incredibly strong and a tribute
to the type of student-athlete we have here in our football program
here at UConn."
Howard, a 20-year-old junior, died in the early morning hours
of Oct. 18, just hours after UConn's homecoming win over Louisville,
after he was stabbed after a campus-sponsored dance. The Huskies
lost three emotional games following Howard's death – to West Virginia
and Rutgers by identical scores of 28-24, after holding the lead
late, and 47-45 at Cincinnati.
"It still doesn't seem real," senior receiver Marcus Easley said
after the loss to West Virginia, six days after Howard's death.
"It's hard to believe we were suiting up for a game without him."
"I just feel empty," Edsall said after the West Virginia game.
"The kids played their hearts out and did what we asked them to
do. They did a great job but came up a little short. I know 'Jazz'
is proud of their effort." Two days after the loss to West Virginia,
the entire team traveled to attend Howard's funeral in his hometown
But the Huskies, whose five losses were by a combined 15 points,
finished the year with three straight wins – including a double-overtime
win over Notre Dame on Nov. 21 and a 29-27 win over South Florida
on Dave Teggart's field goal on the final play.
UConn will play South Carolina in the Papajohns.com Bowl on Jan.
the fourth 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 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