2006 NWFA Whammy Awards
D.C. Divas Shine at 2006 Whammy Awards; Eight Divas Recognized
By Neal Rozendaal
August 4, 2006 – The D.C. Divas have dominated their opponents in the National Women’s Football Association (NWFA) this season. It’s no surprise, then, that they monopolized the league’s post-season awards as well.
On the eve of the 2006 NWFA national championship game, the league handed out their inaugural “Whammy Awards” at a event held at the Chadwick Banquet Hall just outside Pittsburgh. The Northern Conference champion D.C. Divas, who were the only team to have a nominee in all ten categories, ultimately came away with a remarkable eight Whammy Awards.
The NWFA created the Whammy Awards this season in lieu of the traditional selection of All-American teams. The Whammys were designed to identify and recognize the outstanding players, coaches, and staff of the NWFA. In each of the ten categories, five individuals were nominated as semifinalists. Two rounds of public voting were conducted around the league – first to cut the field in each category to three finalists and then to select the award winners.
Only three of the ten categories involved players, and the Divas actually had the least success in these categories. Rachelle Pecovsky was one of five semifinalists for the NWFA’s Player of the Year Award, but she was not one of the three finalists for the award despite rushing for 1,246 yards in ten games this season. Katie Romano was one of three finalists for the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, but she was the only one of the Divas’ nine Whammy finalists to be denied an award.
Fullback Lauren Pruitt was the lone Divas player to win a Whammy Award, taking home the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. Pruitt was a versatile weapon for the Divas as a rookie, ranking third on the squad in rushing in the regular season behind Pecovsky and LaShawn Foust.
The Divas only won one of the three Whammys awarded to the players, but the team went a perfect five-for-five in the coaching categories. Head coach Ezra Cooper took home the Whammy for the NWFA Coach of the Year. Coach Cooper has led the Divas to three straight undefeated regular seasons and a 31-1 record over the Divas’ last 32 regular season games.
Although the Divas do not officially have an offensive and defensive coordinator, the team nominated their top offensive and defensive assistant coaches for the Offensive and Defensive Coach of the Year Awards and came away with wins in both categories. Offensive line coach Tim Smart won the Whammy for Offensive Coach of the Year, an award in which Divas wide receivers coach Joey Benford had also been named a semifinalist. Coach Smart took home the award on behalf of a Divas offense that averaged over 52 points per game in its last seven regular season contests.
Meanwhile, co-defensive line coach Jerome Davis captured the Defensive Coach of the Year Whammy. Coach Davis and Divas defensive backs coach Orlando Brown were two of the three finalists for that award, and Coach Davis edged Coach Brown for the win. Coach Davis won his award thanks in large part to an outstanding Divas defense that has given up just 13 combined points in ten games.
The stellar Divas defense also helped co-defensive line coach Ed Smith claim the Whammy as the league’s Assistant Coach of the Year. Special teams coach Joe Williams made it a clean sweep in the coaching categories by capturing the Whammy for Special Teams Coach of the Year. All in all, seven of the ten Divas coaches were nominated for Whammy Awards, and five of the ten were awarded a Whammy.
Finally, the Divas won both the front office and medical staff Whammys. General Manager Rich Daniel won the Whammy for General Manager of the Year. Daniel is in his second season as the Divas’ general manager after spending two years as the team’s Director of Media Operations. Nate “Daddy Nat” Randolph also took home the Whammy for Trainer of the Year. Randolph is in his second season with the Divas and claimed the top prize given to a member of an NWFA team’s medical staff.