Sept. 17, 2003
Notre Dame, Ind. – Notre Dame senior All-America linebacker Courtney Watson was one of 11 people named today to the 2003 American Football Coaches Association Good Works Football Team. The award recognizes players for their dedication and commitment to community service and all nominees must display sincere concern and reliability, while also having made a favorable impression on the organizations in which they were involved.
Watson, who joins former defensive end Grant Irons as the only Irish players to win the award, was recognized for his extensive work within the University and South Bend communities. The native of Sarasota, Fla., was responsible for creating and developing the football team’s community service initiative entitled Tackle The Arts. The program, now in its second year, partners with the St. Joseph Country Public Library in South Bend, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana and the Notre Dame Marching Band in providing an interactive approach helping inspire children to explore different areas of the arts including reading, creative writing and poetry, drawing and music. In addition to providing scholastic support with area children, Watson also installed a food drive dimension to the event to benefit the Food Bank of Northern Indiana.
In conjunction with the 2003 Tackle the Arts event, Watson along with teammates Brandon Hoyte and Dan Stevenson, also played host to a picnic for at-risk children in the South Bend area. The children, who attended the picnic and later Tackle the Arts, were identified through the NCAA’s National Youth in Sports Program, the South Bend Housing Authority, the Robinson Community Learning Center and the Urban League of South Bend.
Additionally, Watson has made many surprise visits to the pediatric floor at Memorial Hospital in South Bend and has addressed the Jackson Middle School football team at its end of the year banquet. He has participated in the St. Joseph County City Bureau Youth Fest and made hospital visits while the Irish were in Jacksonville, Fla., playing in the 2003 Gator Bowl.
Watson has also been very active in the Notre Dame community as he was nominated and then elected a member of the Notre Dame Student Senate in 2002-03. Meeting every Wednesday night, Watson and his fellow senators would discuss issues pertinent to the University community. He also served as a member of the Residence Life and Academic Council committees.
Watson is also a four-year participant, and two-time champion, in Notre Dame’s student-run basketball tournament called Bookstore Basketball, which is the largest 5-on-5 outdoor basketball tournament in America.
One of the nation’s best players, Watson was a first-team All-American in 2003 by ESPN.com and a third-team selection by The Sporting News and Associated Press. Watson was also one of three finalists for the Butkus Award given to the nation’s outstanding linebacker. He led the Irish in tackles in 2002 with 90 in only 10 games and was the team’s leading tackler last week against Michigan with 12. He has also served as a game captain as voted by the coaching staff four times in his career.
2003 Division I Good Works Team
Kevin Burnett, Sr., LB, Tennessee
Sandro DeAngelis, Jr., P/PK, Nebraska
Skyler Fulton, Sr., WR, Arizona State
David Greene, Jr., QB, Georgia
Yazid Jackson, Sr., DB, Temple
Anthony Kiner, Sr., TE, Western Michigan
Mewelde Moore, Sr., RB, Tulane
Jamil Northcutt, Sr., LB, Mississippi
Reggie Torbor, Sr., DL, Auburn
Courtney Watson, Sr., LB, Notre Dame
Quintin Williams, Sr., FS, Wake Forest