Wuerffel Blog Posts
10:43 p.m. - As the song goes: "Oh What a Night." The ASA Banquet was a phenomenal event and it all started with a professional photo shoot involving Tim, his family, Coach Cubit, Danny Wuerffel and the former Wuerffel Trophy winners in attendance. I was also lucky enough to be involved. Afterward, we went over to Angler's restaurant for a media party. Tim and the other ASA winners were interviewed by local media and signed autographs for corporate sponsors and invite guests. Tim's hand might be a bit cramped from all of the photos he signed but it was a pretty cool event.
The banquet began at 6:30 p.m. but before, Tim was ushered into a VIP area where Florida State coaching legend Bobby Bowden and keynote speaker Annika Sorenstam chatted with Tim, Coach Cubit and the Hiller family. The banquet itself was quite the event (you know I really feel this since I mentioned already). The Wuerffel Trophy was the second award bestowed on the night and Tim did not disappoint. Everyone at our table (I feel safe saying this) was very proud when Tim received a standing ovation when announced.
His speech was about being in a position in life thanks to the people that get you there. It speaks to his humility and was definitely a crowd pleaser. After all of the awards, Bowden was honored and spoke for a few minutes. It was too short. He could have talked for an hour and it would have been too short. Great story teller and with his knowledge and love of history, he certainly has secured his name in it.
Many thanks to everyone associated with the Wuerffel Trophy and the ASA, especially Mike McGrail, John Watts, Danny and Jessica Wuerffel. We are very appreciative to all involved. Now it is time for the WMU contingent to travel back to Michigan, except Tim. He will stay in the area to train before traveling to Indy for the NFL Draft Scouting Combine.
12:29 p.m. - It was a full morning on Friday. The FCA breakfast began a little after 7 a.m. and many members of the ASA spoke. Local high school students also spoke about trials they had gone through in their lives. One inparticular was very moving. A 17-year old spoke of how when he was born he nearly did not make it and his mother did not see him for two weeks. Last October, the student (Dalton) spoke of how he lit a fire while on vacation without knowing gasoline was in the pit. He was burnt all over his body and was told he would have scars. He shows no signs of injury and is very thankful. Florida State's Christian Ponder spoke at the event.
One high school student received the Taylor Haugen award. It is named after a high school football student who lost his life during a game on a routine hit. ESPN College Game Day did a feature on his story.
Afterward, the former Wuerffel Trophy winners, their wives, the Wuerffels, the Hillers and members of the ASA gathered at Aunt Martha's B&B for another breakfast. I tried grits for the first time. Jury is still out. Near the end of the morning, Tim signed a ceremonial helmet that is kept at the B&B. It has been signed by all previous winners and the Trophy's namesake. It has become a tradition.
Going back to the FCA Breakfast, the Emerald Coast Conference Center (where this weekend's events are being held) has a glass showcase honoring the current year's Wuerffel Trophy winner. Tim's home jersey and helmet (both signed) are displayed. It was great seeing all of the high school students waiting in line for Tim to sign the 8x10 glossy pics.
9:48 p.m. - This post is going to encompass everything that has happened since landing in Fort Walton Beach. Once I landed, I was greeted by Mike McGrail of the Wuerffel Trophy as well as Tim, his parents and Coach Cubit. We immediately went to the All Sports Association Fish Fry and it was really cool to see all of the people coming up to Tim to congratulate him, ask for his autograph (the ASA had 500 glossy 8x10 photos of Tim) and take a picture with the 2009 Wuerffel Trophy winner.
After the Fish Fry, we stopped at a Subway (Tim needs to eat with all of the training is doing) and then went to Aunt Martha's Bed & Breakfast for a coffee and dessert reception. Two of the former Wuerffel Trophy winners and their wives were on hand as well as members of the ASA and the Wuerffel family. (Have to give a shout out to Danny Wuerffel's wife Jessica who is from Bryan, Ohio, making the total count of Ohio natives at seven.
Danny and Coach Cubit spoke with Danny's father about how Coach Spurrier had him play from the shotgun late in a game and how Danny's dad thought his hand position was wrong but that is what Danny was coached to do. There were tons of antecdotes like that and still more congratulations for Tim and his parents.
At the end of the reception, Danny spoke to the crowd, thanking them for attending and for continuing to support the Wuerffel Trophy. He welcomed Tim into the "fraternity" and spoke of how it is not only important to excel in your chosen field but to excel as a person. Tim also spoke, thanking everyone for the hospitality shown to him and his parents. He said that even though they had only been in town for a couple hours, he already felt a bond.
It's an early start on Friday with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Breakfast at 7 a.m. and then some down time before the afternoon when there will be a photo opportunity, media session and then the banquet. (Side note of two very cool things - The ASA has minted commemorative coins with Tim's name and the likeness of the Wuerffel trophy that are available to attendees. The other cool thing is where we are staying. It has two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a full kitchen and even a pair of bunk beds. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be here and celebrate this accomplishment for Tim and Western Michigan University. And with that, I say good night.
4:28 p.m. - Quick post. Tim is in Dallas, heading to Fort Walton Beach. I am about to board in Charlotte. He will arrive eight minutes before I do and then it is off to the Fish Fry for Tim to meet with All Sports Association members, fans and media.
1:26 p.m. - Tim is in the air, literally. His flight left LAX at 9:35 a.m. (12:35 p.m. ET) and he is scheduled to arrive in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., at 5:20 p.m. His parents are already in place. They arrived some time after 10 a.m. this morning and Coach Cubit has just touched down in Florida. All Sports Association and Wuerffel Trophy representative Mike McGrail is awaiting Coach's arrival.
I am just starting my trek south. I will be leaving Detroit in 27 minutes, heading to Charlotte and then Fort Walton. I know it is on in the mid 50's in Florida right now but I am looking forward to it. The dip in temps may be a bit of a shock to Tim's system after having spent the better part of six weeks in sunny LA.
Tim Hiller has been working non-stop in preparation for the 2010 NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis, which begins at the end of February. Before he puts his skills on display for the entire National Football League to see, he has one more piece of hardware to pick up - the 2009 Danny Wuerffel Trophy. He and his family will be on hand in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., for the ceremony.
The Wuerffel Trophy, widely known as the Humanitarian Heisman is awarded annually to the one football student athlete that shows excellence athletically, academically and in terms of giving back to the community.
Video and blog entries will be posted throughout Hiller's stay in Florida. Below is the complete itinerary of Tim's trip. Check back here for new entries beginning Thursday, Feb. 18.
Thursday, February 18, 2010