Minnifield Awarded Pop Warner National College Football Award
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia senior cornerback Chase Minnifield has been named the recipient of the second annual Pop Warner National College Football Award. The nation’s largest and oldest youth football organization, Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc., announced the award on Monday. The award, established in 2010, recognizes a Pop Warner alumnus who has made a difference on the field, in the classroom and in his community.
Pop Warner will present the award to Minnifield on Wednesday during the 55th Annual Pop Warner Super Bowl at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., a weeklong event. The Pop Warner National College Football Award is presented each year during the Pop Warner Super Bowl to a college player who has taken the ideals of Pop Warner to the next level, and serves as a role model to Pop Warner’s young scholar athletes.
The Lexington, Ky., native will meet with the Pop Warner Challenger League on Thursday prior to its game. The Pop Warner Challenger Division was designed to bring the Pop Warner experience to those special needs individuals.
Minnifield recently was named to the All-ACC first-team for the second-consecutive season, becoming the first UVa defensive back to win multiple first-team nods since current Virginia safeties coach/special teams coordinator Anthony Poindexter earned the distinction three times (1996-98). He was also named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back, ACC Defensive Back of the Week (Nov. 15) and Thorpe Award Defensive Back of the Week (Oct. 17).
“To play Pop Warner football, we require our young athletes to do well in the classroom, and we ask that they represent their community in a positive light,” said Jon Butler, Executive Director of Pop Warner Little Scholars. “We created the Pop Warner National College Football Award to honor a student-athlete who has continued to demonstrate those values at the next level, and who stands as a positive example for our young athletes both on and off the field. We received many tremendous nominations this year, and found an exceptional honoree in Chase Minnifield. He is a respected teammate, outstanding student athlete and an admirable young man.”
Minnifield, who earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology after just 3.5 years, is currently pursuing a graduate degree in the Curry School of Education. He is actively involved in Virginia’s Athletes Committed to Community and Education (A.C.E.) program, designed as an in-school program for young students to promote classroom success and achievement through a partnership between UVa athletes and local schools.
Minnifield works with students at Walker Upper Elementary School on a weekly basis and participates in community service projects including the football team’s annual Bone Marrow Drive, The Shoot Out for Cancer and an Easter egg hunt at a local rehabilitation clinic for children. In addition, Minnifield connected with the UVa Women’s Center to help create awareness during domestic violence month this past October. He also took time out of his schedule this fall to attend youth football games in Fluvanna Founders League, watching the Fluvanna Blue.
In 2011 Minnifield was one of 10 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision student-athletes selected as a finalist for the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes strength of character and excellence in the community, classroom and on the field. Minnifield was named a Ronnie Lott IMPACT Trophy semifinalist, a candidate for the Wuerffell Trophy, a nominee for the AFCA Good Works Team, a member of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list and in 2010 was named SI.com Honorable Mention All-American.
“I want to congratulate Chase Minnifield for being named the recipient of the Pop Warner National College Football Award,” said UVa head football coach Mike London. “Chase is an outstanding football player and invaluable member of our team. We ask a lot of him on our defense as an experienced cornerback. He always gives great effort and is a tremendous competitor. Nothing showed that more than the play he made at Florida State this year, coming from the far side of the field to make a touchdown-saving tackle at the one-yard line in a game we eventually won 14 to 13.
“The thing most people don’t know about Chase is how committed he to our community service program, “Hoos in the ‘Ville.” He records as many hours working at local schools and being a positive influence to young people as anyone on our team. I’m very proud of his efforts in that area.
“I’m a big fan of Pop Warner football. It is a tremendous organization that not only teaches youngsters how to play football, but also provides them guidance and teaches them teamwork and a lot of fundamental values they can use their entire lives.”