James Nominated for Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award

James Nominated for Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award

Oct. 27, 2011


DALLAS (FWAA) – Miami’s Mike James is the weekly nominee for the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award, to be announced at the end of the season. James, a junior running back from Haines City, Fla., has persevered this season after the untimely death of his mother.

Elgusta James, 47, passed away as a result of a car accident in Haines City last December. Mike James’ older sister, Jasmine was driving and suffered serious injuries. His 5-year-old nephew Jayden was seriously injured, as well. Both have recovered.

The Hurricanes were in the midst of preparations for the Sun Bowl. Although his mother’s funeral was set for New Year’s Eve, the same day as the bowl game, James decided to play in honor of his mother, believing she would have wanted him to.

Elgusta James was Mike’s inspiration. As a child, he was overweight; his mother helped him shed pounds and become physically and mentally tougher in order to help him toward his dream of playing running back and college football.

In the Sun Bowl loss to Notre Dame, James had four carries and four catches for a total of 28 yards. Although Miami’s backfield was crowded with talented players, coaches gave him the first carry.

James told the Miami Herald last spring that dealing with his mother’s death has been “very tough day in and day out.”

“I’m doing the best I can,” he said, “coping and trying to play ball at the same time. … The smile is not like it used to be, but I wake up every day and try to be positive.”

Through seven games this season, James is the Hurricanes’ second-leading rusher, with 186 yards and three touchdowns on 50 carries. He has five catches for 33 yards and another TD.

“There are moments where he finally realizes his loss and then we’re there for him,” Miami coach Al Golden told the newspaper, “because he’s been there for all of us. He is just a great kid.”

For the sixth straight year, the Football Writers Association of America and the Discover Orange Bowl will announce a weekly nominee for the Discover Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award each Wednesday during the season. A blue-ribbon panel will determine the award’s recipient from those weekly nominees. The recipient of the Courage Award will be announced in December and presented with the trophy in conjunction with this year’s Discover Orange Bowl.

The Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine’s senior writer Gene Wojciechowski, also an FWAA member. A select group of FWAA members vote on the recipient 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 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 341-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. The Orange Bowl Festival features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the Discover Orange Bowl on January 4, 2012. Other OBC core events include the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by Sports Authority, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, Orange Bowl Sailing Regatta Series and Orange Bowl Paddle Championships. For more information on the 2011-12 Orange Bowl Festival and its events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program, log on to www.orangebowl.org.

About the Football Writers Association of America
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 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 tigerfwaa@aol.com or 972-713-6198.

2011 Discover Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Sept. 28: Shane Blissard and Robbie Stewart, Middle Tennessee
• Oct. 5: Carson Tinker, Alabama
• Oct. 12: Blaine Irby, Texas
• Oct. 19: David Lerner, Florida
• Oct. 27: Mike James, Miami