Vickery earns inaugural Taylor Haugen Trophy

THF Taylor Haugen News

FLBy Adam Pruiett
Northwest Florida Daily News

For those who know Caise Vickery, his selection as the first recipient of the Taylor Haugen Trophy by the All Sports Association, Inc., seems like the perfect fit.

Many of the qualities that made Haugen so special are possessed by Vickery. The Fort Walton Beach senior is devout in his faith, athletic, academically inclined, community-service oriented and a natural leader.

And although this had nothing to do with his selection, here’s further proof that it just feels right: When the Haugens spent Saturday afternoon with the Vickerys, it was learned that Linda Vickery, Caise’s mother, has the maiden name of Haugen and the two families traced their lineage and discovered there’s a good chance they’re somehow related.

Was fate involved?

“We clearly believe it is,” said Brian Haugen, Taylor’s dad.

Taylor Haugen, a 15-year-old sophomore at Niceville, passed away Aug. 30 from injuries he sustained during a preseason football game with Fort Walton Beach. The Taylor Haugen Foundation was set up in his honor and provides support and recognition to students and community organizations that exude the aforementioned characteristics of Haugen.

Those traits also encapsulate the Taylor Haugen Trophy, which will be a soaring Eagle handmade by Valparaiso’s Linda King.

“This award, which will be presented at the FCA Breakfast in front of almost 1,000 young people, will help take a tragedy and work to identify the attributes and characteristics in others that made Taylor so special,” All Sports Association President Mike Coupe’ said. “This year’s winner, Caise Vickery, embodies those and will help carry them forward. He is a great choice in that regard.”

The All Sports Association 40th Annual Awards Banquet will take place Friday at the Emerald Coast Conference Center. The event is sold out.

Vickery played soccer and runs cross country for Fort Walton Beach and has participated before in track. Outside of athletics, he’s actively involved in his church and communityservice projects, president of Fort Walton Beach’s FCA and academically one of the top members of his class.

While Vickery didn’t know Haugen, he’s been touched by him nonetheless.

“It’s an honor to be able to continue his name and what he stood for,” Vickery said. “I hope to carry out his name and live by the values he lived by.”

One other thing the two had in common was a passion for the University of Florida. Vickery is headed there to college, and Haugen’s room is painted blue and orange.

“There’s so many similarities,” Brian Haugen said. “It’s just been a blessing.”