Davey O'Brien Award
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|Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award|
|Awarded for||the collegiate American football player judged to be the best of all NCAA quarterbacks (current)
the best NCAA football player playing in the southwestern United States (original)
|Location||The Fort Worth Club, Fort Worth Texas|
|Presented by||Davey O'Brien Foundation|
|First awarded||1977, became a quarterback-only award in 1981|
|Currently held by||Deshaun Watson, Clemson|
The Davey O'Brien Award, officially the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, named after Davey O'Brien, is presented annually to the collegiate American football player adjudged by the Davey O'Brien Foundation to be the best of all National Collegiate Athletic Association quarterbacks. The Davey O'Brien Hall of Fame is housed at The Fort Worth Club in Fort Worth, Texas. The annual awards dinner and trophy presentation is held there as well usually in February.
In 1977, directly after the death of O'Brien, the award was established as the Davey O'Brien Memorial Trophy, and was given to the most outstanding player in the Southwest. Texas running back Earl Campbell won the trophy in 1977, Oklahoma running back Billy Sims won it in 1978, and Baylor linebacker Mike Singletary won it twice in 1979 and 1980. In 1981, the award was renamed the Davey O'Brien Award.
The Executive Director of the Davey O'Brien Award is Bill Brady.
Robert David "Davey" O’Brien was born in Dallas, Texas on June 22, 1917. As a youth he quarterbacked a sandlot football team self-named the Gaston Avenue Bulldogs, and he spent several summers at the Kanakuk Boys’ Kamp near Branson, Missouri. At 118 lb (54 kg), he was an All-State selection who led Woodrow Wilson High School to the state playoffs in 1932.
O’Brien enrolled at Texas Christian University in 1935 and was the backup to Sammy Baugh. In 1937, O’Brien’s first season as starting quarterback, TCU fell to a mediocre 4–4–2 record, but O’Brien was named to the All-Southwest Conference first team. O’Brien had 1,457 passing yards, a Southwest Conference record that stood for ten years, and only four interceptions in 194 passing attempts. In 1938, he led TCU's Horned Frogs to their first undefeated season, including a 15–7 victory over Carnegie Tech in the Sugar Bowl, and the national championship. The 150 lb (68 kg) O’Brien completed 110 of 194 passes for 1,733 yards and 19 touchdowns. O’Brien was named to thirteen All-America teams and became the only college football player to win the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, and Walter Camp trophies in the same year. When he went to New York to accept the Heisman Trophy, Amon Carter and other Fort Worth boosters hired a stagecoach to carry him to the Downtown Athletic Club.
After graduating from TCU, O’Brien signed a $10,000 contract with the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League. In his rookie season with the Eagles, he passed for 1,324 yards in eleven games, breaking fellow TCU alum Baugh’s NFL record and was named first-team quarterback on the National Football Leagues’ All-Pro Team. The Eagles gave him a $2,000 raise, but he retired after the 1940 season to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation. After completing his training, he was assigned to the bureau’s field office in Springfield, Missouri. O’Brien was a firearms instructor at headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, and spent the last five years of his FBI career in Dallas. He retired in 1950 and went to work for Haroldson L. Hunt in land development and later entered the oil business working for Dresser-Atlas Industries of Dallas and eventually started his own business.
Davey O’Brien was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955 and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1956. In 1971 O’Brien was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery to remove a kidney and part of his right lung. He succumbed to cancer on November 18, 1977.
* Mike Singletary of Baylor won the Davey O'Brien Memorial Trophy twice before it became an award for quarterbacks in 1981.
Trophies won by school
- "O'Brien Memorial taken by Campbell". Lawrence Journal-World. Associated Press. January 19, 1978. p. 13. Retrieved June 28, 2016.