Football Writers Association of America Nov. 20, 2013
For Immediate Release
Contact: Kallan Louis
Gophers thriving in unusual circumstances
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DALLAS (FWAA) The University of Minnesota football coaching staff is the weekly nominee for the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.

On Oct. 10, it was announced that assistant Tracy Claeys, the team's defensive coordinator would serve as the Acting Head Coach while Head Coach Jerry Kill received treatment for his epilepsy. Minnesota is 4-1 with Claeys as Acting Head Coach, entering a home game against Wisconsin on Saturday.

Kill, 52, has had history of health issues and HAS suffered several seizures since becoming the Gophers' head coach in 2011. Nevertheless, this season the Golden Golphers are 8-2 and headed to a bowl game. They have won four straight Big Ten Conference games for the first time in 40 years.

Part of the reason for the success is cohesion on the staff of nine assistants and strength and conditioning coordinator. It has 124 years working together under Kill over the years the most in the country. Claeys has spent 19 seasons with Kill.

The Courage Award was created by ESPN's senior columnist 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 Clemson wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez (2012), Michigan State offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr. (2011), Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (2010), the University of Connecticut football team (2009), 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 Bratton (2002).

The Orange Bowl is a 351-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the Discover Orange Bowl on January 3, 2014. Other Orange Bowl core events include the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by Sports Authority, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta, Orange Bowl Swim Classic and Orange Bowl Paddle Championships. For more information on the 2013-14 Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program, visit

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football. 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 or 972-713-6198.

2013 Discover Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
Sept. 25: Eric Fieilo, San Houston State
Oct. 2: Gabe Woullard, East Carolina
Oct. 9: Bryson James, South Alabama
Oct. 16: Anthony Larceval, San José State
Oct. 23: Jim Weaver, Virginia Tech
Oct. 30: L'Damian Washington, Missouri
Nov. 6: Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State
Nov. 13: Case McCoy, Texas
Nov. 20: Coaching Staff, Minnesota

Related link:
Discover Orange Bowl Courage Award