McElrathbey received national notoriety this year when he was granted custody of his 12-year-old brother Fahmarr in August. The native of Atlanta has cared for his brother with the help of an NCAA ruling that allows the wives of assistant coaches to give Fahmarr rides to school and care for him. The NCAA has also allowed Clemson to establish a fund for Fahmarr through First Citizens Bank in Clemson.
In presenting the award Jackson, the veteran sportscaster of
over 40 years with ABC said, "The story of Ray Ray McElrathbey is an
amazing one. He had to overcome a great deal of hardship during his
youth to earn a football scholarship at the Division I level at
Clemson. Now he cares for his younger brother in addition to all his
responsibilities as a student-athlete."
McElrathbey was appreciative of the award. He accepted the
award from Fahmarr, and noted television personality Regis Philbin,
who was the master of ceremonies for the program.
"It is a great honor to receive the Keith Jackson Award of
Excellence. I want to thank everyone at Clemson who has helped me in
this process. I have great support from my teammates and the coaches
and their families. I also want to express my gratitude to the NCAA
for what they have done in allowing me to have Clemson coaches family
members help me in getting Fahmarr to and from school and the
establishment of a fund to help with his daily expenses.
"I have been struck by the generosity of so many people, and
it has taught me that there are people out there who care. There are
a lot of good people in this world."
This is the second major honor for McElrathbey this year. On
September 15, 2006 he was named the Person of the Week by ABC World
News Tonight. The initial article was written by Larry Williams,
Clemson beat writer for the Charleston Post & Courier. His
remarkable story has already been featured in Sports Illustrated,
The New York Times, ESPN's College Gameday, and Philadelphia
Inquirer, USA Today, ESPN.com, and the Oprah Winfree Show.
McElrathbey Wins Keith Jackson Award
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