DALLAS (FWAA) – Arkansas State's Blake
Anderson is this week's nominee for the 2019 Capital
One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Anderson, the sixth-year
Red Wolves head coach, lost his wife, Wendy, on Aug. 19 after a
two-year battle with breast cancer. He returned to the sidelines
on Sept. 7 for his team's game at UNLV.
"It's impossible to adequately say thank you to so many amazing
people who both energized Wendy's fight and who now are carrying
me and our kids daily through prayer, texts, hugs, cards, food and
so much more," Anderson said in a statement on Sept. 2. "I apologize
for the crudeness of this attempt to say it, but with so many people
to reach out to, it seems the only way to even come close."
Wendy Anderson was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer
in the spring of 2017, and the cancer was located in a spot where
doctors could not operate. After undergoing a natural treatment
approach, Wendy had surgery late that summer, and she was declared
cancer-free Aug. 31, 2017. But the cancer returned in the fall of
2018 at Stage 4, and her condition worsened in the ensuing months.
She had surgery in January to relieve the pressure of five large
masses in her brain. She underwent radiation and chemotherapy, and
she became oxygen-dependent 24 hours a day.
Blake, who had three kids with Wendy, took a leave of absence
from the Red Wolves just before Wendy died. In Blake's second game
back, in Athens, Ga., thousands of Bulldogs fans wore pink to honor
"One of the classiest moves I've ever seen," Anderson told reporters
after the game. "Hard to truly prepare for something like that.
So I would say thank you to all those who showed up today wearing
pink or thinking pink. They don't know my wife, they don't know
me and they didn't have to do it."
The Courage Award was first presented by the Football Writers
Association of America (FWAA) in 2002. 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. The winner of the award will be included
in festivities during Capital One Orange Bowl week and receive his
trophy at an on-field presentation.
Previous winners of the Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage
Award are SUNY Cortland linebacker Kyle Richard (2018), Wisconsin
safety D'Cota Dixon (2017), Pitt running back James Conner (2016),
Miami offensive lineman Hunter Knighton (2015), Duke offensive lineman
Laken Tomlinson (2014), San Jose State defensive lineman Anthony
Larceval (2013), 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).
About the Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl is
a 360-member, primarily volunteer non-profit sports organization
that promotes and serves the South Florida community. With its primary
mission since being created in 1935 to bring tourism to South Florida
through an annual football game and events, it has also maintained
a legacy of charitable contributions and community outreach. Orange
Bowl community outreach efforts are comprised of four pillars: youth
sports, fundraising and community events, academic programs and
scholarships, and legacy gifts. The Orange Bowl features a year-round
schedule of events culminating with the Capital One Orange Bowl
on Monday, December 30, 2019. For more information on the 2019-2020
Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities
through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on
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Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,400 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 game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.
For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson
2019 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
Sept. 18: Blake Anderson, Arkansas State
One Orange Bowl Courage Award