Dan Pugh Wins 2002 Gagliardi Award
December 17, 2002
Mount Union College senior/running back Dan Pugh (Norwalk/St.Paul) has been named the winner of the 2002 Gagliardi Award in recognition of the most outstanding student-athlete in all of Division III football.
Off the field, Pugh, a psychology major with a 3.18 grade point average, was a First-Team Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection this fall. He is also involved in an internship program at the Stark Regional Community Correction Center in Louisville, Ohio.
On the field, he set a new Raider regular season mark for yards rushing (1,467 yards) and a new regular season Ohio Athletic conference record for touchdowns scored (26).
"Dan (Pugh) has had an outstanding senior year," noted Raider head coach Larry Kehres. "He's done everything asked of him and more. Dan (Pugh) is not only a tremendous football player but also a good teammate. He was chosen as one of our team captains by his teammates before the year started. He's a quality student-athlete representing what Division III is all about."
A starter of two National Championship teams ('00 & '01), Pugh has gone over the 100 yard rushing mark in 11 of Mount Union's 13 games played to date in 2002. Earlier this season, he became the first Mount Union player to score five touchdowns in one half of play (10-5-02 vs. Otterbein). Pugh also set a Raider regular season record for all-purpose yards (2,184 yards) in 2002, surpassing Chuck Moore's mark of 2,168 yards set in 2001.
Including playoffs this season, Pugh has rushed for 2,050 yards on 335 carries for a 6.1 yard per carry average. He has 31 receptions out of the backfield for 378 yards. Pugh has returned 13 kick offs for a 39.0 return average. He has a Division III best 37 touchdowns (224 total points with a two-point conversion) on the year, two touchdowns shy of tying the NCAA collegiate All-Division record for touchdowns in a season (39) set by Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State in 1988. Sanders totaled an all-time collegiate-best 234 points in 11 games that season.
In the semi-final win against John Carroll, Pugh tied a Division III single-game playoff mark held by five others by scoring five rushing touchdowns. He also set single-game personal bests in carries (45) and yards rushing (254).
"I was honored to be Mount Union's nominee for the Gagliardi Award," said Pugh. "We've had several outstanding candidates through the years and to be put in that class of student-athlete was special. To be named the recipient of this prestigious award is even more amazing. I didn't expect it. At Mount Union, we're taught team always comes first. Therefore, I accept this honor on behalf of all my teammates and coaches who truly made this possible."
For his career during regular season play, Pugh ranks third all-time on the Raider regular season rushing list (3,176), second in all-purpose yards (4,783), second in scoring (338) and fifth in total offense (4,010 yds).
Pugh was nominated by Dr. Jack Ewing, Mount Union president, who wrote: "Dan has been a key contributor to two national championship teams (2000 & 2001) while leading our team to a perfect regular season record. As educators, we often speak of the importance of students giving back to the community. Dan is an excellent example of an outstanding student-athlete who finds time to contribute to the community."
Pugh is the Raiders' fourth Gagliardi Award winner. Other Mount Union Gagliardi Award recipients include quarterback Jim Ballard ('93), quarterback Bill Borchert ('97) and running back Chuck Moore ('01).
The Gagliardi Trophy is named for John Gagliardi, legendary coach at Saint John's (Minn.) University, where he won his 400th game during the playoffs this year, making him the second winningest coach in college football history. The award, sponsored by Jostens, Inc., and administered by the SJU J-Club, recognizes excellence in academics, athletics and community service.
College presidents nominate their top student-athlete for the award. The J-Club Board of Directors narrowed the field to 10 finalists and a national selection committee selected the winner. In a close vote, seven different finalists received first-place votes.
The trophy features a sculpture of coach Gagliardi and a player representing the mentor and student in a classic one-on-one sideline consultation. The sculptures are hand cast in bronze and mounted on a polished wood base. Designed by Jostens, the trophy stands nearly two-feet in height and weighs 64 pounds.
The award will be presented Thursday, Dec. 19, at a luncheon in Salem, Virginia, kicking off Stagg Bowl festivities.