York Trophy awarded to Tech at O’Charley’s Dinner of Champions

They’ve been waiting since October to pick up their hardware and on Tuesday night in Nashville, Tennessee Tech football coach Watson Brown and his senior players accepted the coveted Sgt. York Trophy.Tech won the award for the first time in 2009 after sweeping to a perfect 3-0 record against its Ohio Valley Conference in-state foes Austin Peay, Tennessee State and UT Martin.

The Sgt. York Trophy, sponsored by the OVC and the Nashville Sports Council, was given to the Golden Eagles at the O’Charley’s Dinner of Champions at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville.

“It was worth the wait,” said Brown. “Winning the York Trophy was one of the major goals of our team and we are extremely proud to have accomplished it. It’s something that these seniors will always remember, and hopefully its the first of many.

“We’d like to keep this trophy in Cookeville for many years to come,” Brown said.

Joining Brown on the stage to accept the award were most of the team’s 2009 seniors, including offensive guard Taylor Askew, who drew the task of carrying the 150-pound wood-and-bronze trophy to the team’s bus for the ride back to Cookeville.

“The coaches and players talked about winning the York Trophy throughout Spring drills and from the first day of fall camp,” Askew said. “Every player on the team is aware of Sgt. York’s accomplishments and contributions as a Soldier, and every player took it upon himself to do all he could to win this trophy and bring it back to the Cookeville. We think this trophy belongs here, and winning it is something we are all extremely proud of.”

In addition to Brown and the players, Tech’s contingent at the Dinner of Champions included three members of Sgt. Alvin C. York’s family (center in photo at left), his oldest son George Edward York, his only surviving daughter Betsy Ross Lowery, and his grand-daughter, Angie York. Tech history professors Michael Birdwell, Calvin Dickinson and Jeff Roberts were also at the dinner. It was Birdwell who did much of the research on York when the trophy was established in 2007.

Retired Cookeville surgeon Sam Barnes sculpted the bust, while Birdwell and former OVC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher designed the base.

The conference also had a large contingent on hand for the presentation, including first-year Commissioner Beth DeBauche.