Special to the Journal
Auburn, Ala. –The Auburn Athletics Department will present the first James Owens Courage Award to the man who broke the color barrier on the football field at Auburn. Owens, who became the first African-American scholarship football player at Auburn in 1969, will receive the inaugural award named in his honor. It will be presented to Owens on the field at the Louisiana-Monroe game at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 15.
“James Owens is an Auburn icon and one of the most important figures in the storied history of Auburn football,” Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said. “It is only fitting that he is the first recipient of this new award named in his honor. James displayed incredible courage in the face of tremendous adversity and became one of the heroes of the 1972 Amazin’s. He forever changed Auburn football for the better, and the establishment of the James Owens Courage Award will ensure that we never forget what he means to Auburn University.”
The James Owens Courage Award will be presented annually to a current or former Auburn football player who has displayed courage in the face of adversity, distinguishing himself while contributing to the betterment of Auburn University.
A Fairfield native, Owens lettered at Auburn as a fullback from 1969-72. During three seasons on the varsity, he helped Auburn to a 28-5 record and played a key role on the 1972 Amazin’s team, which defied the odds and finished the season with a 10-1 record and a top five national finish.
The New Orleans Saints drafted Owens in the 11th round of the NFL Draft after his senior season at Auburn.