Nov. 11, 2013
DENTON, Texas - North Texas senior defensive end Brandon McCoy, 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."
"First off I want to thank God and give him all of the glory. I am so honored and humbled to have won this award," said McCoy. "The military taught me so much about life and how it's not about me, but the person next to me. To be honored with this award that represents the armed forces is an incredible honor and I'm just proud to receive it. I am also so thankful for my brothers and sisters who continue to fight overseas for my freedom and protect our country each and every day. I never, ever envisioned getting such a prestigious award a few years ago, much less getting my degree but the military and the armed forces taught me so much and I am so appreciative to receive this award."
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.
"This is just tremendous and I'm extremely honored and proud for Brandon to have been selected for this prestigious award," said head coach Dan McCarney. "He is a true patriot and Brandon has always brought honor, integrity and leadership to our program and this just highlights how much he has meant to our football program and the University of North Texas. I have such a great respect for all the men and women in the armed forces and Brandon was one of many that are proudly serving our country and giving us the freedom to play college football. It has been such a privilege for me to coach Brandon and I'm just very excited for him to have won this award."
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 echoes 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."
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 combat missions. 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.