SUNY Cortland graduate student quarterback Dan Pitcher (Cortland) has been announced as one of 10 finalists for the 19th annual Gagliardi Trophy. The award (pronounced Gah-LAR-dee) is presented to the top NCAA Div. III football student-athlete in recognition of excellence in athletics, academics and community service.
Pitcher is one of two players from the NCAA's East region among the 10 finalists. The finalists include six quarterbacks, two wide receivers, a defensive tackle and a safety. The field will be narrowed to four players who will be invited to the award ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 14, in Salem, Va., two days prior to the national championship game.
The 35-member Gagliardi Trophy national selection committee will review the credentials, rank the candidates 1-10 and cast their votes. Fan balloting, which will be available on D3football.com, accounts for one collective ballot as well, for the fifth consecutive year. Fans may cast one ballot apiece. Voting will take place after Thanksgiving.
The New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Offensive Player of the Year, Pitcher completed 197-of-317 passes (62.1 percent) for 2,712 yards and 31 touchdowns compared to just five interceptions in 11 games. He broke school single-season records for TD passes and passing efficiency rating (163.1) and set Cortland's career record with 54 TD passes. Pitcher threw at least one TD pass in 24 of his 25 games as the Red Dragons' starting quarterback, dating back to 2009.
Pitcher registered a 4.08 cumulative grade point average as a psychology undergraduate student and entered the fall semester with a 4.03 GPA as a sport management graduate student. He has been involved with the Cortland football program's bone marrow registry drive for three years, has served as a Cortland Athletics Kids' Day volunteer and has served as a volunteer football coach at Cortland High School, his alma mater.
Pitcher is the second Cortland player to earn national finalist status. Defensive lineman Adam Haas was a finalist for the award in 2006.
The Gagliardi is sponsored by Jostens, Inc. and conducted by the J-Club of Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minn. The award 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 most successful coach in college football history with 484 career victories in 63 seasons, including the last 59 at St. John's.