Ten finalists have been named for the 2009 Gagliardi Trophy awarded annually to the outstanding football player in NCAA Division III. Sponsored by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John’s University, Minnesota, the Gagliardi Trophy recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and community service.
The winner of the Gagliardi Trophy is selected by a national selection committee comprised of coaches, sports writers, community leaders and former Division III student-athletes enshrined in the National Collegiate Football Hall of Fame. This will be the third year fans will be able to rank the 10 finalists and cast an electronic ballot that collectively will be added to the 35 votes of the national selection committee. Ballots may be cast immediately through 12:00 p.m. CST on Monday, December 7 at www.d3football.com. Fans may only vote one time.
The trophy is named for Saint John’s University head football coach John Gagliardi, the first active head coach to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (Class of 2006) and the winningest coach in college football history with a record of 471-126-11 (.784). Gagliardi set the all-time win record on November 8, 2003.
The 17th annual Gagliardi award will be presented on Thursday, December 17, in Salem, Va., as part of the festivities leading up to the Division III National Championship game played in Salem on Saturday, December 19.
NCAA Division III Gagliardi Trophy Finalists:
Gerry (Spud) Dick, DePauw (Indiana); senior QB; South Region. Resident of Indianapolis, Ind. Ranked 8th in Division III in pass efficiency (164.2) and 19th in total offense with 23 TDs and 9 INTs. Two-time captain carried DePauw to its first-ever playoff berth. Economics major named academic all-district in 2009. Volunteers in programs assisting children and elderly.
Judd Lutz, Mount Union (Ohio); senior LB; East Region. Resident of Bloomville, Ohio. Leading tackler (75 total) on nation’s top-ranked defense; team captain also led number-one ranked MUC in passes defended. Played fullback as junior. Math major. Member Fellowship of Christian Athletes; worked on shoe collection drive for needy families overseas.
Dave Paveletz, Susquehanna (Pennsylvania); senior RB; East Region. Resident of Hanover Twp., Pa. Holds school single-season rushing record plus career rushing and career rushing TD marks. Averaged 4.9 yards per carry for 1,347 yards in ’09. Business administration major named academic all-district. Devotes time to Central Pa. Multiple Sclerosis Society.
John Peters, Union (New York); senior LB; East Region. Resident of Clarks Summit, Pa. Four-time conference defensive player of the week while leading league in tackles (117 total; 13th in nation); named to Stars and Stripes Team for Dec. 19 game in Mexico. Biology major named academic all-district; college’s junior-year scholar athlete. Tutors youth, fellow college students.
Jeff Schebler, UW-Whitewater (Wisconsin); senior K; West Region. Resident of Davenport, Iowa. Four-time unanimous all-conference selection holds numerous UW-W, conference and NCAA kicking records. Made 55 of 56 PATs in 2009 and 18 of 20 FG attempts. Finance major named to national honor society. Officer in Fellowship of Christian Athletes; middle school volunteer.
Adam Shaffer, Mississippi College (Mississippi) senior QB; South Region. Resident of Brandon, Miss. Conference offensive player of year. Passed for 29 TDs with 149.5 efficiency rating. Led team to first league title in 12 years. Chemistry major already accepted into grad-level chemical engineering program. Volunteers on campus with Boys Club activities.
Alex Tanney, Monmouth (Illinois) junior QB; West Region. Resident of Normal, IL. Tops in Division III with 3,495 yards passing; 166.8 efficiency rating is 10th in nation. Averaged 349.5 yards per game total offense (4th in nation). Tied or broke nine individual school records in ’09. Business major. Active with food drives, Alzheimer’s awareness and Special Olympics.
Blaine Westemeyer, Augustana (Illinois) senior OT; North Region. Resident of Overland Park, Kan. Four-year starter; twice all-conference. Team captain selected an all-American in 2008. Will play in Stars and Stripes game on Dec. 19 in Mexico. Academic all-American; graduate scholarship recipient. Biochemistry major. Active with Athletes Giving Back volunteer program in Quad Cities.
Dan Whalen, Case Western Reserve (Ohio) senior QB; North Region. Resident of Willoughby, Ohio. Led team to third consecutive 10-0 regular season (31 straight regular season wins as starter). Five-time conference player of the week threw 31 TDs in 2009. Three-time conference player of the year. English major. Volunteers for campus move-in day, Special Olympics.
David Zachary, Central (Iowa) senior RB; West Region. Resident of Ackworth, Iowa. Leading rusher in conference with 124.2 yards per game; averages 6.3 yards per carry with 17 TDs. Helped team to playoffs with 10-0 record and number five ranking. Exercise science/health promotion major. Volunteered in children’s toy program, tornado clean-up, youth baseball.
Additional information can be found at www.gojohnnies.com/gagliarditrophy
About Saint John’s University J-Club
Founded in 1959, the Saint John’s University J-Club is a dues-based booster organization of former Johnnie student-athletes, parents and fans, and plays a key role in support of the SJU varsity programs, intramurals and club sports.
Minneapolis-based Jostens is a provider of products, programs and services that help people inspire achievement and preserve memories. The company's products include school yearbooks and memory books, OurHubbub™ brand MemoryBooks, scholastic products such as class rings and graduation products, and products for athletic champions and their fans. Jostens is a subsidiary of Visant Corporation, a marketing and publishing services enterprise servicing the school affinity, direct marketing, fragrance and cosmetics sampling and educational publishing market segments.