DALLAS (FWAA) – Missouri Western State University's
Shane Simpson and Jack Long are the weekly nominees for
the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award, to be announced
at the end of the season. Simpson, a junior defensive back from
Blue Springs, Mo., and Long, a senior defensive back from Parkville,
Mo., rescued a toddler from a locked car on a 95-degree day last
Simpson and Long, starters and co-captains for the Griffons,
were driving away from football practice August 23 when they noticed
a woman beating on the window of a car.
"We thought maybe she had locked her keys in the car," Long told
the Associated Press, "but then thought that was kind of an extreme
thing to do for keys."
Theresa Gall's 17-month-old grandson, Liam Snook, was locked
in the car along with her keys. The toddler was throwing up and
appeared to be losing consciousness. Using a hammer, Gall and others
had been unable to break the car's window.
"We were hitting the glass as hard as we could and nothing,"
Gall told KSHB-TV. "All I could think was, 'God, please send somebody.'"
"The women came running out saying, 'My baby's in the car, help!'"
Simpson told the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press. "She gave me the hammer
and said, 'Break the window.'"
Simpson needed one try to break the window. Liam was dehydrated,
but made a full recovery. Simpson and Long left after Liam had been
rescued, but returned a few moments later to check on him.
"It was just so remarkable," Gall told the News-Press. "Not only
did they stop and save his life, but they came back. They came back
because they knew about heatstroke and were worried about the little
guy. I can't even really express how grateful I am."
Gall offered a monetary reward, which both players declined.
A few days later, Liam and his grandmother attended a Griffons'
practice, and then their season opener against Pittsburg State.
"I'm just glad," Simpson said, "I got to be able to do it."
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
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
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).
The Orange Bowl Committee 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, visit
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-713-6198.
2011 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Sept. 28: Shane Blissard and Robbie Stewart, Middle
• Oct. 5: Carson Tinker, Alabama
• Oct. 12: Blaine Irby, Texas
• Oct. 19: David Lerner, Florida
• Oct. 26: Mike James, Miami
• Nov. 2: Arthur Ray Jr., Michigan State
• Nov. 16: Shane Simpson and Jack Long, Missouri
• Orange Bowl Courage Award