|Fergie Ferguson Award|
|Awarded for||"Senior football player who displays outstanding leadership, character and courage"|
|Presented by||Florida Gators football|
|Location||University of Florida,|
The Forest K. Ferguson Award is presented annually in memory of one of the University of Florida's greatest athletes. The award is given in the form of a trophy, which remains in the permanent possession of the school. The recipient is the Gators' "senior football player who displays outstanding leadership, character and courage," and is selected by the Florida Gators football coaching staff.
The award takes its name from Forest King "Fergie" Ferguson, Jr., one of the University of Florida's greatest all-around athletes. Born June 21, 1919, in South Jacksonville, he entered the university in the fall of 1938, after having been a star end for Stuart High School in Stuart, Florida. Ferguson was a three-year starter at offensive end and defensive end, "playing both ways," from 1939 to 1941. His school pass-receiving records remained unbroken until the 1960s, when quarterbacks Steve Spurrier and John Reaves began to throw passes to star receivers Charles Casey, Richard Trapp, and All-American Carlos Alvarez in pro passing schemes.
Ferguson was an All-American in football in 1941. The following year, he was the State of Florida collegiate boxing champion and won the National AAU javelin throw with a distance of 203 feet, 6 and 1/2 inches. He graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in education in 1942.
Several months after the United States entered World War II, Ferguson joined the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant in 1942. On June 6, 1944, he led an infantry platoon of the 29th Infantry Division in the Allies' D-Day landings on Omaha Beach in Nazi-occupied Normandy, France. Ferguson and his men were pinned down on the beach by heavy rifle, machine gun and artillery fire from the German defenders, and their advance was blocked by extensive barbed wire and other enemy obstacles. Ferguson rose under fire, cleared a passage through the enemy obstacles with a Bangalore torpedo, and was gravely wounded in leading his men in a direct frontal assault against the enemy. Ferguson was awarded the U.S. Army's Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second highest medal for gallantry in combat, for his service on June 6, 1944. He never recovered from his wounds, and died in May 1954 in a Miami hospital. He is buried in All Saints Cemetery in Jensen Beach.
1954 – Malcolm Hammack (FB)
1972 – Fred Abbott (LB)
1993 – William Gaines (DT)
See also Edit
- Florida Gators
- Florida Gators football, 1930–1939
- Florida Gators football, 1940–1949
- List of University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame members
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 2006 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, Awards, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 143–146 (2006). Retrieved May 14, 2010.
- ↑ 2009 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, History, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 146 (2009). Retrieved May 20, 2010.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 MilitaryTimes.com, Hall of Valor, Forest K. Ferguson. Retrieved May 14, 2010.
- ↑ Forest K. Ferguson, Jr. at Find A Grave
- Forest K. Ferguson, Jr. – Profile at Find A Grave
- GatorZone.com – Official webpage of the Florida Gators football team