Gagliardi Trophy to bring finalists to Salem

Blaine Westemeyer with the Gagliardi Trophy
Last winter, Blaine Westemeyer was the first offensive lineman to win the Gagliardi Trophy. If his fellow regional finalists had also been in Salem, his winning would have been even more of a surprise.

For the first time in the award program history, all four finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, given to the outstanding football player in NCAA Division III, will be on hand for the announcement and presentation this December. The new format was disclosed today by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John’s.   

The Gagliardi Trophy is named for John Gagliardi, SJU head football coach and winningest coach in college football history with 473 victories. Since 1993, Jostens and the J-Club have teamed together to recognize one student-athlete annually who exhibits excellence in athletics, academics and community service.  

The trophy award winner and his coach have been on hand for the presentation each December in Salem, Va., on the eve of the Stagg Bowl, the Division III national football championship game. But this year, all four finalists are being invited to Salem this year for the awards banquet on Thursday evening, Dec. 16, and to stay for the Stagg Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 18. The winner's name will be announced at the awards banquet.

The Gagliardi Trophy selection is made by a 35-member national committee composed of community leaders, coaches, sports writers and former Division III student-athletes enshrined in the National Collegiate Football Hall of Fame.  Nominations are made by the college president with letters of recommendation submitted by the head football coach.