STATS LLC, the world’s leading sports technology, data and content company, announced it will hold its annual FCS awards banquet in Frisco, Texas, on Jan. 8 – one night before the subdivision’s national championship game at nearby Toyota Stadium.
The banquet will take place at the Embassy Suites Frisco Dallas Hotel Convention Center and feature the handing out of five awards: the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year; the STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year; the STATS FCS Coach of the Year; the STATS FCS Freshman Player of the Year; and the STATS Doris & Eddie Robinson FCS Scholar/Athlete of the Year.
Gary Reasons, an FCS football alumnus who attended Northwestern State, will emcee the ceremony. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and starred at linebacker for the New York Giants during two Super Bowl-winning seasons.
“We couldn’t be happier with the way our decision to cover the FCS has turned out,” said Brian Orefice, STATS’ news director who has overseen the initiative along with longtime FCS beat writer Craig Haley and FCS operations director Phil Sokol – both of whom joined STATS following its TSN acquisition. “The leagues and schools have been incredible partners, and, by sheer luck, we entered the fray during one of the most dramatic years on the field ever. We hope this awards banquet can somehow come close to replicating the excitement of the season.”
A trio of big-name quarterbacks – Villanova’s John Robertson, North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz and James Madison’s Vad Lee – had premature ends to promising regular seasons, leaving the Offensive Player of the Year race wide open.
Offensive, Defensive, Freshman and Coaching awards will be handed out during the ceremony. In addition to the freshman and coach recipients, three finalists apiece will be invited to Frisco for the announcement of the Offensive and Defensive awards.
The other honor to be handed out is associated with FCS royalty.
In conjunction with the family of Eddie Robinson, STATS has named its academic achievement award in fitting tribute to the longtime Grambling coach and his wife Doris, a former teacher and the renowned matriarch of Grambling athletics, who died in September at the age of 96. Robinson won 408 games at the school – the most for a football coach at the time of his 1997 retirement – before passing away 10 years later.
“The family of Doris and Coach Eddie Robinson is respectfully honored to have STATS name its academic achievement award in tribute to a couple who together emphasized higher education as an expected parallel with athletics,” said Eddie Robinson III, grandson of Grambling’s first family.