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.
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
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
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.
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
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
OBCs 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 orangebowl.org,
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