April 21, 2005
Every year, during halftime of the spring football game, awards for excellence are given to deserving players. There are awards given for offensive and defensive MVP, for the most dominant player and several other accolades for efforts on the field. Just prior to the 2004 spring season, a very special award was established. The Matt Schmauch Academic Commitment Award was created in honor and memory of the former Athletic Academic Support Assistant Director who passed away in June 2003. The award is now given annually to a deserving football student-athlete at the conclusion of spring practice. The 2005 recipient was junior defensive end Willie Jones. The Schmauch family and the Athletic Academic Support staff were delighted with their selection.
“On behalf of my family, I feel it is a great honor that the University has chosen to recognize Matthew in this way,” brother Brien Schmauch said. “Willie has shown that he truly exemplifies all of the characteristics in the classroom that this award represents throughout his career at Florida State. His commitment to getting a degree not only honors Matthew but it honors Willie and all of the hard work he has put forth.”
“Willie Jones is very deserving of this award because he has become a better student every single day,” Athletic Academic Support Director Mark Meleney said. “This award represents the football student-athlete who achieves to his ability because Matt wanted every student to do so and Willie has shown he can do that and has done that over the years.”
The award also meant a great to Jones.
“Winning this award is very special to me since I looked up to Matt after all of the hard work he did for me my freshman year,” Jones said. “At times, I really didn’t understand why he made me work as hard as he did, but now, I can look back and say I’m glad Matt pushed me the way that he did. This is much more than an award to me. It really means that Matt is still living around the Moore Athletics Center and living in me. Out of all the academic awards that I have won since I’ve been at Florida State, this one means the most to me because Matt showed me the way to work hard and how to become a leader. I can now see all of his work and my hard work paying off.”