Shaun Alexander Honored

The Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) has selected Shaun Alexander as the 2003 Professional Athlete of the Year. It is the second time he has been selected (having also been named in 2001). Other previous selections include the likes of Hank Aaron, Kenny Stabler, Bobby Allison, John Stallworth, Ozzie Newsome, John Hannah, Charles Barkley, Cornelius Bennett, Bo Jackson, Frank Thomas, Robert Horry and Tim Hudson.

Shaun Alexander, a former Alabama football star who now plays for the Seattle Seahawks, will be honored with other Alabama Athletes of the Year at the 33rd annual convention of the ASWA Sunday in Prattville. Ironically, Alexander was never winner of the ASWA's award for Amateur Athlete of the Year. In his record-breaking senior season for the Crimson Tide, he was beaten out by his Alabama teammate, offensive tackle Chris Samuels.

"Seahawk fans will surely consider this award to be yet another reason to be proud of Shaun, and grateful that he's a member of this team", said Doug Farrar, the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET, a national website devoted to Seattle's NFL franchise. "Shaun is one of the best running backs in the history of the Seahawks as well as a fine man and a dedicated community activist, and we're pleased to hear that his alma mater remembers him so fondly."

Since his emergence with the Seahawks in 2000 upon his graduation from Alabama, Alexander has been one of the most productive running backs in the NFL, gaining 4,241 yards rushing on 994 carries for a 4.3 yards-per-carry average, and 46 touchdowns in only four full seasons. In addition, Alexander has grabbed 150 receptions for 1,139 yards and 6 TDs in his NFL career.

These numbers would come as little surprise to those who saw him star for Bama from 1996-1999. When Shaun said "Roll, Tide!" he wasn't kidding around! Career totals (1996-99): 727 carries (Alabama record) for 3,565 yards (Alabama record) and 41 touchdowns, as well as 62 pass receptions for 779 yards and eight touchdowns. Shaun set 3 Southeastern Conference and 15 Alabama rushing records in his career. As senior in 1999, he rushed for an Alabama record 302 times for 1,383 yards and 19 touchdowns, had 25 receptions for 323 yards and four touchdowns, and finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

As a junior in 1998, he rushed 258 times for 1,178 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught 26 passes for 385 yards and four touchdowns. He holds Bama records for rushing touchdowns in a game, season (19 in 1999), and career (41). His 30 points vs. BYU in one game and 144 points in 1999 are Crimson Tide records, as are his 24 touchdowns in 1999. His 50 career touchdowns is tied for first in Alabama history. In 1996 as a freshman, he came off the bench late in the first half against LSU. He finished the game with 20 rushes for an Alabama record 291 yards and four touchdowns.

Shaun's impact in his adopted hometown of Seattle extends far beyond the playing field. The Shaun Alexander Foundation (the first charitable foundation created by an NFL player before he was drafted!) has established scholarships and given thousands of dollars to help many organizations and individuals in need. The Foundation has provided food and gifts to thousands of families and children who wouldn't have been able to celebrate Christmas any other way. According to the Foundation's official website, http://www.tidefans.com/saff/, "The foundation's mission is to be the answer to families' and youth's deepest prayers. Through youth rallies, motivational camps and financial aid, the foundation strives to give that little something extra to those who need a helping hand."

There's no doubt that Shaun Alexander has made his mark in the NFL both as an athlete and as a man. The 2003 ASWA Pro Athlete of the Year award represents the pride Bama fans feel in counting him as "one of their own".

The Alabama Sports Writers Association was formed in 1971. This organization operates the polls and all-state teams for all six divisions of boys and girls high school teams in the state of Alabama, selects Athletes of the Year in professional, amateur, small college, junior college, high school football, high school boys and girls basketball, and high school baseball and softball. The ASWA also conducts professional awards for writing in several dozen sports categories and recognizes achievements in virtually every area of sports in the state. This weekend, the ASWA will have a seminar featuring SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, along with commissioners of four other conferences (Conference USA, Sun Belt, OVC, and SWAC) which have college football teams in the state of Alabama. Every daily newspaper, specialty publication and sports information office in the state is represented at the convention.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET. You may contact him at doug@seahawks.net.


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