Alex Ferrara Named Finalist For Gagliardi Trophy

November 23, 2011

University of Mount Union College senior safety Alex Ferrara (Independence/Walsh Jesuit) was named one of 10 finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy given to the top all-around football player in NCAA Division III.  

For the fifth year in a row, readers will be able to cast a ballot for the Gagliardi Trophy. The cumulative fan results will count for one vote for D-III's top all-around student-athlete.

Ferrara has been a consistent performer for four years on one of nation's top ranked defenses.  He is a three-time All-OAC selection, including first team nods in 2010 and 2011, as well as a 2010 All-North Region selection.  He has two of his career 12 interceptions this season and scored a touchdown off a fumble recovery against Marietta.  He also has blocked a kick and forced a fumble this season.

Off the field, Ferrara, who has a 3.77 grade point average as a business major, is an Academic All-OAC, two-time Academic All-District and an Academic All-American in 2010.  He has aided in service projects such as Hugs for Haiti earthquake fundraiser, visited local schools with the Raider Buddy program and assisted with the Trick-or-Treat with the Raiders. In 2009, he traveled to El Salvador to help a needy village on a mission trip.

A record five other Purple Raiders have won the Gagliardi Trophy.  Quarterback Jim Ballard won the inaugural award in 1993, fellow quarterback Bill Borchert in 1997, running backs Chuck Moore and Dan Pugh won the award in 2001 and 2002, while quarterback Greg Micheli won the award in 2008.

The Gagliardi Trophy was first presented in 1993. Since that time, the award has become one of the leading collegiate football awards and is widely recognized as the premier individual award in Division III football, honoring excellence in athletics, academics and community service.  The award is named for John Gagliardi who has been a college football coach for the last 63 years and 59 of those at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn.  He is college football's all-time wins leader with 484 victories.

Nominations for the award are made by the college president with supporting letters and credentials provided by the head football coach.  After screening the nominations, the SJU J-Club Board of Directors narrows the field to 10 finalists including at least one finalist in each of the four NCAA regions. 

The 35-member Gagliardi Trophy national selection committee reviews the credentials, ranks the candidates 1-10 and casts their votes. 

For the third year, fans will be given one collective vote by casting votes on the web site  The student-athlete with the highest vote total is named recipient.

The field will be narrowed down to four regional finalists who will be invited to an award dinner where the the winner will be announced at banquet on Wednesday, Dec. 14 as part of festivities leading up to the NCAA Division III National Championship game, the Stagg Bowl, in Salem, VA. 

2011 Gagliardi Trophy Finalists

  • Alex Ferrara, University of Mount Union senior S
  • Matt Blanchard, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater senior QB 
  • Peter Bulandr, North Central College (Ill.) senior DT 
  • Chris Haupt, Widener University (Pa.) junior QB 
  • Dan Pitcher, State University of New York at Cortland grad student QB 
  • Alex Tanney, Monmouth College (Ill.) senior QB 
  • Hewitt Tomlin, Johns Hopkins University (Md.) senior QB 
  • Alex Thiry, College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) senior QB 
  • Fritz Waldvogel, University of St. Thomas (Minn.) senior WR/KR 
  • Michael Zweifel, University of Dubuque (Iowa)
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