"In addition to being one of the best running backs in all of NCAA Division III, [Williams] is a dedicated student and a committed, inspiring community volunteer…This young man exemplifies the finest qualities of a Division III student-athlete."
Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) December 16, 2012
Elmhurst College (Illinois) senior running back Scottie Williams was named recipient of the 2012 Gagliardi Trophy Dec.12 in Salem, Va., as the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III this fall. Sponsored by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John's University of Minnesota, the Gagliardi Trophy recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and community service.
Three other finalists were on hand at the 20th annual Gagliardi Trophy award ceremony: Zach Autenrieb, record-setting senior defensive back from Thomas More College (Kentucky), Luke Heinsohn, high-scoring senior running back/kicker from Washington and Lee (Virginia) and Nathan Wara, senior quarterback from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Williams, a 5 foot-6 inch, 170-pound marketing major from Woodridge, Ill., was Offensive Player of the Year in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin and helped his team advance to the second round of the D-III national tournament. He finished the regular season second in D-III in rushing with 173.2 yards per game, and seventh in scoring with an average of 13.4 points per game. The 2011 first-team Academic All-American has been active with the national Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge; Habitat for Humanity; the local Character Counts initiative; the Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society; and a church bible school.
In nominating Williams, Elmhurst College president S. Alan Ray wrote: "In addition to being one of the best running backs in all of NCAA Division III, he is a dedicated student and a committed, inspiring community volunteer…This young man exemplifies the finest qualities of a Division III student-athlete."
Background on the three other 2012 Gagliardi Trophy finalists includes statistics through the end of the regular season, academic major and community service:
Zach Autenrieb, Thomas More College (Kentucky) senior DB accounting major: National D-III leader with eight interceptions in 2012 (two returned for TDs); holds the D-III career record with 32 INTs. Honor roll student. Volunteer engagement includes Special Olympics and Relay for Life.
Luke Heinsohn, Washington and Lee University (Virginia) senior RB/PK business administration major: National scoring leader during the regular season (all divisions) with 180 points (21 TDs); kicked FG in 4-overtime win. Team advanced to the D-III national tournament. Off-field engagement includes American Cancer Society, Bike MS and directing a fellowship music program.
Nathan Wara, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh senior QB physical education major: Helped team to first-ever playoff berth; threw 22 TDs and one INT in 10 regular-season games. Member all-conference honor roll. Volunteer engagement includes food pantry, Boys and Girls Club and Habitat for Humanity.
Record-setting senior wide receiver Michael Zweifel from the University of Dubuque was the 2011 Gagliardi Trophy winner.
Trophy candidates are nominated by their college president. A national committee composed of 38 former small college football players, business leaders, academicians and sports writers from around the country selected the final four candidates.
Launched in 1993, the award is named after John Gagliardi, Saint John's legendary Hall of Fame head football coach who retired Nov.19 with 489 career victories, the most in college football history.
The trophy design features a sculpture of Gagliardi and a player representing the teacher-coach and the student-athlete in a classic one-on-one sideline consultation. Hand-cast in bronze on a polished wood base, the trophy stands nearly two-feet tall and weighs 64 pounds. The words "Division III Player of the Year" and "Honoring Excellence in Football, Academics and Community Service" are etched in glass on two panels flanking the figures.
About John Gagliardi
After 489 career victories in his 64 seasons as a head coach at the collegiate level, John Gagliardi announced his retirement Nov. 19.
"Seventy years [60 at SJU] is a long time to be doing the same job," Gagliardi said. "Luckily, I've always been blessed with great players, friends, family and support to make it this far."
Gagliardi will remain on staff until his current contract expires June 30, 2013. St. John’s hopes to name a successor later this month.
"Arguably, John Gagliardi has impacted the lives of as many young men as any individual in the history of Saint John's University," SJU President Dr. Michael Hemesath said. "His legacy of educating young men at Saint John's is one that any coach or professor would envy."
"The kind of loyalty and commitment John showed to Saint John's and his student-athletes is rare and exemplary. It is an example of how John modeled good character and ethical behavior for his student-athletes and the community for 60 years."
Minneapolis-based Jostens provides products, programs and services that help people tell their stories, celebrate important traditions and recognize achievements. The company's products include school yearbooks and other memory book products, 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 and trade publishing segments.
About St. John's University J-Club
Founded in 1959, the St. 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. St. John's is a private liberal arts college for men located in Collegeville, Minn.