Deserved Award

Phil Brady got what amounts to a lifetime achievement award from head coach Rich Rodriguez. That the presentation occurred close to Christmas Day was an added bonus.

Brady, in his fourth year as a collegiate kicker, was finally given a scholarship for the spring semester. Rodriguez called Brady and told him that he wouldn't have to worry about academic or personal costs for at least the final four months of college.

"It was a happy phone call to make to my dad," Brady said. "Now I won't have to be calling my dad for money every week."

That's because scholarship players receive a $500 spending stipend for rent each month. Brady's tuition and books will also be covered.

The senior originally walked on at East Carolina before transferring to West Virginia. He stayed on the team even when WVU signed Scott Kozlowski, the No. 1 prep punter in the nation, to a scholarship – a rarity in college football.

"I never thought I would lose my job," Brady said. "Maybe that's just ignorance on my part. But I felt like I could compete."

Brady has averaged 40.1 yards per punt, nearly all net with WVU's rugby-punt style. He has mastered the one-step punt, had none blocked and boomed 57, 52 and 50-yarders while pinning many inside the 20.

Brady actually had to change majors to stay eligible this season. He fell behind in chemistry and changed to athletic coaching, where he had enough credits.

"My original plan was to attend dental school," Brady said. "I started to question if I could afford it and my motivation for hard classes. Chemistry is really different from athletic coaching. But I'm really thankful. I'm glad I earned it."

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