Football Writers Association of America Sept. 19, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: George Schroeder
First-year graduate assistant also pursuing his PhD

DALLAS (FWAA) – Hawaii's Brian Kajiyama is the first nominee for the FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award to be announced at the end of the 2007 season. Kajiyama, 30, is in his first season as a graduate assistant with the Warriors. A longtime Hawaii football fan, Kajiyama was born with cerebral palsy, but has accomplished more with the disability than many without the disability accomplish in a lifetime.

Brian Kajiyama, center, with Hawaii defensive coaches Jerry Glanville, left, and Jeff Reinebold. (Honolulu Star-Bulletin photo)
• Related story from Honolulu Star-Bulletin
• Brian Kajiyama's Blog

Kajiyama, who uses a wheelchair and speaks though a text-to-speech device, graduated with honors from Hawaii in 2003. He recently received his Masters of Education in guidance and counseling and is pursuing a PhD.

His work with the football program began after the dedicated fan became a regular attendee at practices. He later became a volunteer assistant, and in 2006 began handling the tedious duty of editing opponents' game film, making "cut-ups" for Hawaii's coaches. He was named a graduate assistant last spring, fulfilling a longtime dream.

As a graduate assistant, Kajiyama works with the defense, including preparing scouting reports and breaking down game film.

"People just see him as a kid out there in a wheelchair," Hawaii defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. "If they knew his effort and commitment, they'd see something else."

For the second 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.

FedEx Orange Bowl Courage AwardThe 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 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, 309-member, all-volunteer organization that exists as a self-sustaining, independent organization supporting and producing activities and events which enhance the image, economy and culture of South Florida. Among the OBC’s core events are the Orange Bowl Festival, FedEx Orange Bowl and Orange Bowl Halftime Show, the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, the WaMu Orange Bowl Fan Fest presented by the City of Miami, the Budweiser Orange Bowl Tailgate Party, Orange Bowl Youth Football Championships, Orange Bowl Cheer & Dance Championships, Orange Bowl Swim Classic, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships and Orange Bowl Sailing Regatta Series.

For more information on the 2007-08 Orange Bowl Festival and its year-round schedule of events and promotions, log on to, the official site for all Orange Bowl Committee news, tickets and apparel. The website also offers information on event tickets, the Orange Bowl Travel Network and experiencing the Orange Bowl Festival as a volunteer through the Ambassador Program.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,000 men and women across North America 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 game day operations, major awards, a national poll and its annual All-America team.

2007 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Sept. 12: Brian Kajiyama, Hawaii
• Sept. 19: Terry Clayton, Kentucky
• Sept. 26: Danny Langsdorf, Oregon State
• Oct. 3: Lester Karlin, Virginia Tech
• Oct. 10: Zerbin Singleton, Navy
• Oct. 17: Ben Mauk, Cincinnati
• Oct. 24: Nic Harris, Oklahoma
• Oct. 31: Marcus Smith, New Mexico
• Nov. 7: Keegan Herring, Arizona State