Tacoma, Wash. – Two Tarriers were honored at the 41st annual Scholar-Athlete Award Banquet hosted by the Paul Wallrof Chapter (Tacoma-Pierce County) of the National Football Foundation on Sunday, May 7, at Curtis High School.
Cooper Cochran ’17 (who is heading to the University of Puget Sound to play football this fall) was honored as a lineman candidate for 2016 scholar-athletes and Joe Nunez ’17 (who will be attending the Virginia Military Institute this fall) was honored as a back candidate for 2016 scholar-athletes.
The goal of the scholar-athlete awards is to recognize Pierce County high school athletes for their dedication to academics, athletics, and leadership. The Paul Wallrof Chapter is one of more than 120 chapters of the National Football Foundation and the College Football Hall of Fame. Each of Pierce County’s 32 high schools (public and private) is invited to nominate one back and one lineman for the scholar-athlete awards every year. Each nominee who attends the banquet receives a $200 scholarship toward his college tuition.
The guest speaker at this year’s banquet was Burien native Mike Utley, a star high school athlete at Kennedy Catholic High School who received a football scholarship to Washington State University. Considered the most decorated Cougar in WSU football history, Mr. Utley went on to play in the NFL for the Detroit Lions before being injured in his third season; he was paralyzed from the chest down after injuring his sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae. He went on to found the Mike Utley Foundation with the goal of supporting those with spinal cord injuries. He now is also a motivational speaker who shared advice with this year’s scholar athlete nominees.
Congratulations to Cooper and Joe!