Football Program Named Finalist for Armed Forces Award

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State’s long-standing partnership with Fort Riley has been recognized by the Football Writers Association of America as the Wildcat football team was named one of three finalists for the 2015 Armed Forces Merit Award, the association has announced.

Coordinated by the staff at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA was created in June 2012 “to honor an individual and/or a group with a military background and/or involvement that has an impact within the realm of college football.”

The award’s selection committee is made up of five FWAA members and two representatives from the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.  The group reviewed 18 “candidates” for the 2015 honor. This year’s recipient will be announced at 11 a.m., Wednesday on Veteran’s Day by Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Executive Director Brant Ringler and FWAA President Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald.

The partnership started in 2006 when Lt. Col. Patrick Frank of the Black Lions approached the Wildcat football program, and the relationship has since blossomed. In fact, all Wildcat athletic teams have formed partnerships with units from Fort Riley.

That relationship has also permeated the K-State campus as, in 2010, Kansas State president Kirk Schulz and three faculty members visited troops in Iraq while living in troop housing for five days.

Proximity and a mutual respect formed this unique relationship, and Wildcat student-athletes and members of the K-State community and Fort Riley soldiers are able to experience life in each other’s shoes while forming lasting friendships.

Other finalists for the award are Steven Rhodes of Middle Tennessee State and Bret Robertson of Westminster College (Fulton, Mo.).