DALLAS (FWAA) The Connecticut football team is the weekly nominee for the 2009 FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award, to be announced at the end of the season. The Huskies are dealing with the tragic death of a teammate Oct. 18.
Jasper "Jazz" Howard, a starting cornerback, was stabbed to death during an altercation after a campus-sponsored party about 12:30 a.m. Oct. 18 just hours after he helped UConn beat Louisville. Last Saturday, the Huskies played an inspired game at West Virginia, losing 28-24 in the final minutes.
The Huskies displayed Howard's jersey and helmet behind their bench, wore "JH" stickers on their helmets, and received a warm ovation from the West Virginia fans. In the visitors' tunnel at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium, a sign was posted with the message, "Today We Are All Huskies," and thousands of signatures from students and fans.
"I just feel empty," said UConn coach Randy Edsall, who is credited with helping keep the Huskies together through the emotional time, in the moments after the loss to West Virginia. "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."
On Monday, the Huskies traveled together to attend Howard's funeral in his hometown of Miami. They play Rutgers on Saturday.
"We're all hurting," senior receiver Marcus Easley said in the days after Howard's death. "We lost a teammate, some lost a friend, some lost a brother, some lost a son. We're all dealing with something."
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 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