The University of Minnesota football coaching staff is the weekly nominee for the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.
On Oct. 10, it was announced that assistant Tracy Claeys, the team's defensive coordinator, would serve as the acting head coach while head coach Jerry Kill received treatment for his epilepsy. Minnesota is 4-1 with Claeys as acting head coach, entering a home game against Wisconsin on Saturday. Kill, 52, has had history of health issues and has suffered several seizures since becoming the Gophers' head coach in 2011. Nevertheless, this season the Golden Gophers are 8-2 and headed to a bowl game. They have also won four straight Big Ten games for the first time in 40 years. Part of the reason for the success is cohesion on the staff of nine assistants and a strength and conditioning coordinator. The staff has 124 years working together under Kill over the years -- the most in the country. Claeys has spent 19 seasons with Kill.
The Courage Award was created by ESPN's senior columnist Gene Wojciechowski, also a FWAA member. A select group of writers from the FWAA vote on the winner each year. The requirements for nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship. Previous winners of the FWAA's Courage Award include Michigan State offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr. (2011) and Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (2010).