The star players, storied coaches, notable dignitaries and media members in attendance on Monday evening made The Sports Network’s annual FCS Awards Banquet quite special for all involved. Because the event was invitation-only and not broadcast nationally as is the case with many of the FBS awards, I wanted to give our readers an inside glimpse into the night, which included a reception, a dinner and an awards presentation during which CAA Football secured two of FCS Football’s four most coveted national honors; this after the league locked up three of the four awards a year ago.
CAA Football certainly had its presence felt throughout the evening, as Old Dominion sophomore quarterback Taylor Heinicke took home the Walter Payton National Player of the Year Award and Villanova’s John Robertson received the Jerry Rice Freshman of the Year Award from the honor’s namesake himself. Former Nova great and 1997 Walter Payton Award Winner Brian Finneran was on hand to present this year’s honor to Heinicke, while Wildcats head coach and ’97 winner Andy Talley was in attendance to present the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award to North Dakota State’s Craig Bohl. We would later discover that Talley finished second in nationwide voting for the award.
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The Sports Network did a top notch job from start to finish with Monday’s awards banquet.
Much of the night’s artwork had a throwback feel to it. I was a fan.
These four greats not only changed the face of the sport, but did a great deal to break down color barriers as well.
Bobby Broyles got some great footage of the evening’s events, which can be found at CAAFootball.com.
Taylor Heinicke had plenty of requests for photo opps next to his Fathead.
Many young ones dream of one day having a Fathead created in their honor. Mr. Robertson can now cross that off of his checklist.
Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet was up for the Payton Award. The talented RB began his career in CAA Football with Hofstra.
The Sports Network’s banquet program was just another quality addition to a top notch event.
Thanks to Scott Meyer’s ad, CAA Football was well represented in the evening’s program.
Filet mignon was the evening’s main dish. As a vegan, I didn’t have any problems giving mine away.
The Sports Network’s FCS Executive Director, Craig Haley, offered a nice introduction to the evening’s events. It’s been a pleasure to work with him over my first season on the job.
For Philadelphia mayor and Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell offered an entertaining welcome to the evening’s guests.
The wife of the late Buck Buchanan, Georgia, gave an uproarious introduction to Montana State’s Caleb Schreibeis before the Bobcat accepted the Buck Buchanan Award.
The ’97 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award Winner, Villanova head coach Andy Talley was on hand to present the honor to North Dakota State’s Craig Bohl.
Jerry Rice was on hand to present his award to John Robertson. The two-year-old honor remained in the league family after Towson’s Terrance West won it in 2011.
After being introduced by Jerry Rice himself, John Robertson gave a very well-received speech.
Nova great and ’97 winner Brian Finneran presented Heinicke with the Walter Payton Award.
Taylor Heinicke was eloquent in his acceptance of the Walter Payton National Player of the Year Award.
My main camera man, Bobby Broyles, in action.
John Robertson, Brian Finneran and Andy Talley were all on hand to represent Villanova Football.
Heinicke poses for photos with Coach Wilder and his family following the awards banquet.
Our talented video guy, Bobby Broyles, and I had the opportunity to interview NFL legend Jerry Rice. Talk about an early career highlight.
Mr. Rice was nice enough to take a quick picture with Bobby and me after our interview. This one’s a keeper!
Taylor Heinicke won the Walter Payton Award voting in what amounted to be a landslide.
Robertson won a significant portion of the Rice Award’s first-place votes.
In attendance to present the award, Nova’s Andy Talley finished second in the Robinson Award voting.