GREENSBORO, N.C. – Georgia Tech fullback Ed Wilder has been selected as the recipient of the 2000 Brian Piccolo Award as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Most Courageous Football Player, ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced today.
The Piccolo Award has been given annually since 1972 in memory of the late Brian Piccolo. Piccolo was the ACC Athlete of the Year in 1965 and played for the Chicago Bears before his career was cut short when he was stricken with cancer. His courageous fight against that disease was an inspiration to the Bears and the entire football community.
“Ed is an outstanding football talent whose career has been severely hampered by his chronic knee injury,” said Georgia Tech head coach George O’Leary. “He has persevered and has given his team everything that he possibly can. With a healthy knee, Ed would be a pro prospect, but he has always understood the value of his education and will graduate this year.”
Wilder, a senior from Washington, Ga., originally suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in 1996 as a senior in high school. He then sustained a torn meniscus in the same knee during the 1999 season and underwent arthroscopic surgery but missed only one game. He had two more surgeries in the offseason and could not participate in spring practice.
Despite having three knee surgeries in a 10-month span, Wilder missed only one game. His practice repetitions and playing time have been limited, but he has played in every game for the Yellow Jackets this season and is a valuable blocker in Tech’s high-powered offense.
Wilder is the second Georgia Tech player to win the Piccolo Award, following Jerry Mays in 1989.