Fergie Ferguson Award
|Fergie Ferguson Award|
|Given for||"Senior football player who displays outstanding leadership, character and courage"|
|Location||University of Florida,
|Presented by||Florida Gators football
|Website||Florida Gators football|
The Forest K. Ferguson Award, commonly known as the "Fergie Ferguson Award," is presented annually to a senior member of the Florida Gators football team in memory of one of the University of Florida's greatest athletes.
The award takes its name from Forest K. Ferguson, known as "Fergie" to his teammates, who was one of the University of Florida's greatest all-around athletes. Ferguson received first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) and honorable mention All-American honors as a football player in 1941. He was also the State of Florida collegiate boxing champion, and won the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) national championship in the javelin throw in 1942. As a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Ferguson led an infantry platoon during the D-Day landings in Nazi-occupied France on June 6, 1944. His platoon was pinned down by a machine gun being fired from a nest on a high bluff, so Ferguson climbed the cliff and eliminated the danger but was severely wounded in the process. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second highest medal, for "extraordinary heroism" in combat. Ferguson never fully recovered from his wounds, and died from complications related to his war-time injuries in 1954.
The Forest K. Ferguson Award was established in Ferguson's honor by several of his former Gators teammates in 1955. The award is given annually in the form of a trophy, which remains in the permanent possession of the university. The recipient is the Gators' "senior football player who displays outstanding leadership, character and courage," and is selected by the Florida Gators football coaching staff and players. Former Gator and NFL fullback Mal Hammack was the first recipient in 1955. The recipients to date are listed below:
1954 – Malcolm Hammack (FB)
1974 – Lee McGriff (SE)
1998 – Willie Cohens (DE)
- 2014 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 71 & 94 (2014). Retrieved September 26, 2014.
- Grantland Rice, "The All-America Football Team," Collier's, p. 78 (December 13, 1941). Retrieved September 26, 2014.
- MilitaryTimes.com, Hall of Valor, Forest K. Ferguson. Retrieved May 14, 2010.
- Associated Press, "Funeral Rites Held For Forrest Ferguson, Gator Grid All-America," St. Petersburg Times, p. 14 (May 20, 1954). Retrieved September 25, 2014.
- "Malcolm Hammack Gets First Forest Ferguson Award," The News-Tribune, p. 13 (November 13, 1955). Retrieved September 28, 2014.