FORT WORTH, Texas (FWAA) – Brandon
McCoy, a senior defensive end at North Texas, is the second
recipient of Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football
Writers Association of America (FWAA). Coordinated by the
staff at the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl,
the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA was created in
June 2012 "to honor an individual and/or a group within the realm
of the sport of football."
Nicknamed "The Sarge," the 28-year old McCoy will be presented
the award today at an 11:30 a.m. (CT) media conference in Denton
at North Texas' Apogee Stadium by Brant Ringler, the Executive Director
of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, and Steve Richardson,
the FWAA's Executive Director.
McCoy, who walked-on to the North Texas squad after serving five
years (2004-2008) in the U.S. Army where he was discharged on August
19, 2008 after receiving numerous medals for his service time in
Iraq, joins Bronze Star winning Green Beret solider Nate Boyer,
as recipients of the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA.
Boyer, a member of the University of Texas football team, was honored
on Veteran's Day 2012.
"On this very special day, Veterans' Day 2013, we are pleased
to join with the Football Writers Association of America to honor
Brandon McCoy from the University of North Texas as the second recipient
of the Armed Forces Merit Award," said Ringler. "We had list of
outstanding nominations for this year's award and it is difficult
to honor only one each year when we have men and programs that are
very deserving of the honor."
Richardson echoed Ringler's sentiments along with adding that
the FWAA is "pleased to team with Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
to recognize McCoy's achievement as a veteran that used his armed
forces experiences to benefit his teammates and coaches at the University
of North Texas. The FWAA also salutes the other 2013 nominations
for their contributions on-and-off the field of play."
Since starting his North Texas career in 2010, McCoy has played
in 41 games (through November 9 with 26 starts) with 1211 total
tackles, including 59 unassisted. He has been credited with 12 sacks
and 18 tackles for losses during his career.
After missing North Texas' 2013 season opener against Idaho with
a sprained ankle, McCoy has played in the next nine games with six
starts and 24 total tackles to rank second among Mean Green defensive
linemen. He leads the team in quarterback hurries with six. North
Texas is currently 7-3 and leads the West Division of Conference
USA with a 5-1 record.
In his nomination letter for McCoy, North Texas coach Dan McCarney
said that "Brandon is one of the great examples of what the term
'student-athlete' means to all of us. He is a highly motivated young
man of character, principle and integrity. His humility and sense
of responsibility provide him with the qualities necessary in responding
positively to his coaches, teachers, teammates, opponents and to
the countless challenges that face him. Brandon has constantly brought
honor, prestige and positive exposure to the University of North
Texas and college football."
On McCoy's military service, McCarney said his player has shown
"the same courage, heart and class as a leader on our football team
as he did overseas protecting the freedom of our country. He is
a true patriot. We are all defined by our own moments in time. The
obstacles we overcome, dreams we achieve, handling success and failures,
and the legacy we leave behind. Brandon's legacy will live on for
McCoy's journey into the Army began after he was kicked out of
high school his senior year in 2003 for cheating, forcing him to
go to summer school to complete his high school diploma. After being
kicked out of his home for using drugs, McCoy lived in a drug house
for a year before his father convinced him to speak with the Army
about a possible career.
Once signed up, McCoy was assigned to the 116th infantry division
at Fort Riley, Kansas. He spent 18 months in training in the Army
before being assigned to the 134th armored unit, the same unit he
would be with while in Iraq. McCoy's division was sent to Campo
Anaconda in Iraq before being transferred to Taji, just 20 miles
north of Baghdad. McCoy's assignment for 13 months was one of the
most dangerous at the time as he drove Humvees in supply runs and
Later, the unit's mission was to provide convoy security for
supplies facing countless IED attacks and roadside bombings. His
security unit did not suffer a single fatality in their entire 13
months of deployment in Iraq.
From Carrollton, Texas, where he attended Creekview High School,
McCoy joined UNT's program in the spring of 2009 after being a full-time
student for one year. Prior to entering North Texas, McCoy had no
SAT score or completed high school grade point average or transcript
when he tried to enroll at UNT.
He took the SAT, and his military service helped him gain part-time
admission despite his academic record. After a semester, he had
to enroll full-time in the spring of 2009 and show satisfactory
progress for one year to receive football clearance by the NCAA.
"I needed the right path to go," McCoy said in an interview several
years ago with Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl correspondent Troy
Phillips. "I had no discipline. In the military, you either get
it or you don't. I needed that structure. It was a huge outlook
change, and it let me know what I really wanted to do."
In a web article this past May, Jarah Wright wrote with "senior
season approaching, McCoy is focusing on his family, which includes
7-month-old son Tyson, and hopefully playing professional football.
Due to his age (he's be 28 when the next season starts), it will
be hard for McCoy to make it to the NFL but he said he's going to
give it all he has."
"My dad always told me when you're doing something don't have
any 'I wish' or 'coulda would as' because they can eat you up,"
McCoy said. "That's why I train as hard as I train and do extra
on the side because I don't want any doubts."
McCoy's sister (April), was a straight-A student and a nationally
ranked junior golfer at Creekview and currently starting her third
season on the TCU golf team.
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN Regional Television
(ERT), owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting
events worldwide. The roster includes two Labor Day weekend college
football games; 11 college bowl games and eight college basketball
events, which accounts for approximately 200 hours of programming,
reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over a half a million
attendees each year. With satellite offices in Boise, Birmingham,
Dallas-Fort Worth, Albuquerque, St. Petersburg and Las Vegas, ESPN
Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local
communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and
fans. A subsidiary of ESPN, ERT is also the production headquarters
for ESPNU; syndication rights-holder and producer of national and
regional shows for college conferences (American, Big 12, Mid-American,
SEC) and manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program. Collegiate
Football – AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); BBVA Compass
Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.); Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg; Boca
Raton Bowl (Florida); Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort
Worth); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Gildan New Mexico Bowl
(Albuquerque); Heart of Dallas Bowl Presented by PlainsCapital Bank
(Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando,
Fla.); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); Royal Purple
Las Vegas Bowl; Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl (Honolulu); Texas Bowl (Houston)
and The Home Depot College Football Awards. Collegiate Basketball –
Armed Forces Classic (Camp Humphreys, South Korea); Charleston Classic
Presented by Gildan (S.C.); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic
(Honolulu); Jimmy V Men's & Women's Basketball Classics presented
by Corona Extra (Madison Square Garden & Durham, N.C.); Old
Spice Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Puerto
Rico Tip-Off (San Juan, PR); State Farm Champions Classic (United
Center, Chicago) and DIRECTV Wooden Legacy (Orange County, Calif.).
For more information, visit www.espnevents.com or follow on Twitter
The Football Writers Association of America
consists of the men and women across North America who cover college
football for a living. Founded in 1941, 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 and an All-America
team. Through its website, the FWAA works to improve communication
among all those who work within the game. The FWAA also sponsors
scholarships for aspiring writers and an annual writing contest.
Behind the leadership of President Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles
Times, Executive Director Steve Richardson and a board of veteran
journalists, the FWAA continues grow and work to help college football
prosper at all levels. There are now over 1,200 members.