DALLAS (FWAA) Minnesota's Mike Sherels is this week's nominee for the 2016 Capital One Orange
Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.
Sherels suffered through a life-threatening intestinal illness in August that required multiple surgeries. The Golden Gophers' linebackers coach had more than 18 feet of his small intestine removed, in addition to the right side of his colon and his transverse colon removed. He lost 50 pounds. He couldn't eat. Sherels was told that he might be in the hospital for up to six months, but he ended up leaving shortly after his final surgery.
The 32-year-old gradually worked his way back to his job with the Gophers, and he assumed full duties for the Oct. 8 game against rival Iowa.
"31 wasn't my favorite year but I'm heading into this next one with an entirely new outlook on life which just makes everything sweeter," Sherels said in a Twitter post on his birthday, Oct. 29. "Don't let anyone ever tell you what your limitations are. The moment you accept what others tell you is the moment you are the one holding yourself back. #EmbraceHARD"
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 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 December 30, 2016. For more information on the 2016-17 Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to orangebowl.org. Follow Orange Bowl: @OrangeBowl, Facebook and Instagram.
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
Editor's note: To download a print-quality photo of Mike Sherels, click on the photo within the release.
2016 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
Sept. 14: James Conner, Pittsburgh
Sept. 21: Caylin Moore, TCU
Sept. 28: Riley Sorenson, Washington State
· Oct. 5: Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State
· Oct. 12: Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
Oct. 19: Mulbah Car, Houston
Oct. 26: Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea, Hawaii
Nov. 2: Shaquem Griffin, UCF
Nov. 9: Tim White, Arizona State
Nov. 16: Adam Ploudre, Missouri
Nov. 23: Mike Sherels, Minnesota
Dec. 1: Quinton Flowers, USF
One Orange Bowl Courage Award