Auburn to introduce James Owens Courage Award
by Toi Garcia / WRITER
Sep 11, 2012 | 2868 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
James Owens was the first African-American to receive a full scholarship to play football at Auburn. (Courtesy of Auburn University Athletic Media Relations)
James Owens was the first African-American to receive a full scholarship to play football at Auburn. (Courtesy of Auburn University Athletic Media Relations)
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The Auburn Athletics Department will present the Šfirst James Owens Courage Award in Jordan-Hare Stadium at the Louisiana-Monroe game Saturday, Sept. 15.

Owens will be the Šfirst recipient of the eponymous award.

Owens was a fullback for the Tigers from 1969-72 and was the Šfirst African-American to receive a full scholarship to play at Auburn.

In celebration of Owens, the department will give the award out yearly to a football player who best exemplifies his attributes. James Owens played fullback for the 1972 “Amazin’s” team and opened holes for Terry Henley, according to Jay Jacobs, director of

athletics.

“He was a Šfine football player, but more importantly he is an even Šfiner man,” Jacobs said. “James walks and lives his faith every single day, and he has been an inspiration to countless people.”

There are certain attributes an athlete must have to receive this award. Jacobs said “the intent of the award is to recognize current or former football players who have demonstrated great courage in the face of adversity, making Auburn better in the process. That’s the legacy of James Owens, and that will be the legacy of this award named in his honor.”

“It’s an honor to even try to shadow someone like Owens,” said Patrick Lymon, a current football player on Auburn’s team.

Lymon is a redshirt sophomore running back. He tries to exude qualities like Owens’ every day on and off of the Šfield, as he believes Owens paved the way for the football players of today.

One of the student athletic trainers for the Tigers last year, Jenna Malphrus, worked with the players and staff every day.

“In my opinion I deŠfinitely think that you need to be determined, conŠfident and selfless in order to win the courage award,” Malphrus said.

While players are here for school and football, they are also here to make a difference in the community, she said.

“Someone who really understands and values the Auburn Creed” will win the award, Malphrus said.

Owens’ legacy and his rightful place in the history of Auburn football will never be forgotten, Jacobs said.

“A lot of great men came before you, and now you have to carry the torch,” said coach Gene Chizik.

“It was important for us to make sure that present and future Auburn men and women, including our football players, understood how significant his place in our history really is,” he said.

During his time on the team, Owens broke records that helped Auburn with a 28-5 record, which in 1972 provided them with a 10-1 record.

Owens was then drafted by the New Orleans Saints after his senior year.
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