Florida A&M's Spady nominated for Orange Bowl Courage Award

DALLAS (FWAA) – Florida A&M’s James Spady is this week’s nominee for the 2022 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Spady, the Rattlers’ tight ends coach, returned to the practice field last week after suffering a medical episode in the season opener that caused him to temporarily lose his vision.

James Spady"Football is my passion. Coaching is my passion," Spady told The Tallahassee Democrat earlier this season. "The goal all along has been to put myself back in position to get back to my normal life to mentor young men and compete."

Spady had suffered a medical emergency during Florida A&M’s first game of the season, Aug. 27 at North Carolina. He spent nine days in the hospital before returning home to Tallahassee. Hannah Henry, the wife of Rattlers offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Joseph Henry, organized a GoFundMe to assist with medical expenses and home modifications. The page surpassed its $20,000 goal.

The 56-year-old Spady, who is also Florida A&M’s associate head coach, has been with the Rattlers since head coach Willie Simmons took over ahead of the 2018 season. Spady, who is in his 30th year as a college coach, served as the head coach at Alabama A&M for four seasons before that.

Spady was a four-year starter on the offensive line at UTEP, where he earned first-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors.

Florida A&M is on a five-game winning streak after an 0-2 start, and it is tied for second place in the SWAC East Division at 3-1 in conference play.

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 the University of Utah football Team (2021), Arkansas State analyst Alex Charlton (2020), Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson (2019), 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 Orange Bowl
Orange Bowl is a 391-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’s community outreach is embodied by the four pillars of its Orange Bowl Cares program: Youth Sports, Education, Community Engagement and Legacy Programs. Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the 2022 Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 30. For more information on the 2022 Orange Bowl events, including promotional inquiries and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to orangebowl.org or follow @OrangeBowl on social media.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

To submit a nomination for the Capital One Orange Bowl Courage Award, contact Matt Fortuna at mfortuna@theathletic.com.