DALLAS (FWAA) USC's Ricky Rosas is the weekly nominee for the 2009 FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award, to be announced at the end of the season. Though developmentally disabled as a result of juvenile cancer, Rosas has been an integral part of the Trojans' football program for several years. Nearly every day, Rosas makes a 90-minute bus ride from East Los Angeles to the USC campus, where he works at various duties as special assistant to the head coach.
"It's funny how the hugest of guys take care of the littlest guy," Rosas told The Los Angeles Times.
Rosas is 4-foot-8 and weighs less than 100 pounds. His job description consists of handing out water at practices and running errands for coaches in the offices.
"It's a good thing for our players to come in contact with people from different backgrounds, different places," USC coach Pete Carroll told the LA Times. "They learn how to reach out now, maybe they'll continue doing that later in life."
Now a student at East Los Angeles Junior College, Rosas is one of the most popular figures in the program with coaches, players and fans.
"I'm part of this here, you know?" Rosas told the LA Times.
For 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 trophy.
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 Bratton (2002).
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 www.orangebowl.org.
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