Ron Omara named AUS defensive player of the year

Ron Omara named AUS defensive player of the year

2013 Atlantic University Sport football major awards announced

(HALIFAX, N.S.) - Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2013 football major award winners as selected by the conference's four head coaches following regular season play.

Second-place Mount Allison (4-4, 1-0 playoffs) had three Mounties earn major awards, including second-year running back Jordan Botel who was named outstanding player of the year. Two student-athletes from the 2011 and 2012 AUS champion Acadia Axemen (3-5, 0-1 playoffs) earned two major awards. The first place Saint Mary's Huskies (5-3) and the StFX X-Men (3-5) earned one apiece.

OUTSTANDING PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jordan Botel, Mount Allison (Chris Flynn Trophy)

Running back Jordan Botel of the second-place Mount Allison Mounties has been selected as the Atlantic University Sport outstanding player of the year.

An arts student in his second year of eligibility from Prince George, B.C., Botel led the conference in rushing for the second year in a row.

He finished with 758 total yards on 170 carries and scored six touchdowns this season. He was responsible for 36 of the Mounties' 166 total season points and he boasted the second most all-purpose yards with 812.

Botel was also named to the AUS all-star squad for the second consecutive year. He earned the honour in 2012 after posting 878 rushing yards on 197 carries and scoring seven touchdowns. He also averaged more yards rushing per game than any AUS player that season with 109.8.

"Jordan is a powerful runner who has a tremendous ability to break tackles and gain extra yards after first contact," said Mount Allison Mounties head coach Kelly Jeffrey. "He is a very complete back that can hurt you a number of ways, but truly excels between the tackles where he can wear down an opponent over the course of the game. With each carry he continues to get stronger and stronger."

"Jordan is a great teammate as well.  He came to our program and fit in right away," Jeffrey continued. "He is always looking to get extra work in during practice. If he is not involved in a special team he'll be on the other end of the field getting the QBs to throw to him or hand him the ball.  He continually pushes to improve and is a perfectionist in learning the techniques of the position."

Botel, Gary Ross (2009) and Kelly Hughes (2008) are the most recent Mounties to be named the conference's most outstanding player of the year.

Former Saint Mary's quarterback Erik Glavic and former Mount Allison star Eric Lapointe are the most recent Atlantic conference players to take home the Hec Crighton Trophy as the CIS outstanding player of the year.

Lapointe won the award both in 1996 and 1998 while Glavic was the 2007 recipient.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Adam Melanson, Acadia

The AUS rookie of the year is Acadia defensive tackle Adam Melanson.

The 6-foot-2, 275-pound arts student from Kentville, N.S. started in all eight of Acadia's regular season games this season and their lone playoff game.

Melanson posted 23.5 tackles this season (15 solo and 17 assisted), including 1.5 sacks and six tackles for losses of 20 yards.

"Adam came in with big expectations and a lot of hype and didn't disappoint," said Acadia Axemen head coach Jeff Cummins. "Adam started all nine games we played this year and kept himself in the lineup. Adam Melanson is a name that will be heard for years to come in this conference."

This is the second consecutive season that rookie of the year honours have gone to an Acadia student-athlete. Thomas Troop of the Axemen earned the title in 2012. Prior to last year, Elliot Richardson was the most recent Acadia player to be named AUS rookie of the year. He earned the title in 2005.

Mount Allison's Sebastien Roy (1999) and StFX's Jeremy Steeves (2001) are the most recent Atlantic conference winners of the Peter Gorman Trophy as the top rookie in CIS football.


StFX X-Men linebacker Ron Omara, a native of Aylmer, Que., has been named the AUS outstanding defensive player of the year.

A third-year arts student in his fourth year of eligibility, Omara led the conference in tackles this season with a career-high 62 (47 solo and 30 assisted) in eight regular season games played, giving him the highest tackles per game average with 7.8.

His 47 solo tackles also led the league and his 2013 stats included three sacks, six tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.

Omara was also named an AUS all-star linebacker Wednesday for the first time in his AUS career.

After being sidelined for half the regular season with an injury in 2012, Omara still managed to post 19.5 total tackles (17 solo and five assisted) last year, including one sack and 3.5 tackles for a loss, in the four regular season games he did play in.

In his 2011 freshman year, he boasted 40 total tackles (32 solo and 16 assisted), including one sack.

"Ron Omara is very deserving of being named outstanding defensive player of the year. He was the AUS conference leader in four different defensive categories and finished second in CIS tackles with 62," said StFX X-Men head coach Gary Waterman. "His speed and physical play were a nightmare for opposing offenses. He has been one of the top linebackers in the AUS since his arrival and we are very proud of him."

Omara will represent the conference as the AUS nominee for the Presidents' Trophy awarded to the CIS outstanding defensive player of the year.

StFX's Brett Hubbeard (2012), Henoc Muamba (2008, 2010) and Tom Lynch (2009) are the most recent X-Men to be named the AUS defensive player of the year.

Muamba, who currently plays for the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers, is the most recent Atlantic conference winner of the Presidents' Trophy, which he was awarded in 2010.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Kelly Jeffrey, Mount Allison (Larry Uteck Trophy)

Mount Allison head coach Kelly Jeffrey has been chosen by his peers as the Atlantic conference coach of the year.

This is the second time in Jeffrey's six-year career as Mounties head coach that he has earned the honour. He was first named AUS coach of the year in 2010.

Facing a 1-4 record at the beginning of October, Jeffrey led the Mounties (4-4, 1-0 playoffs) as they fought their way back to a second-place finish this season with four consecutive wins, including a 19-10 victory over the two-time defending champion Acadia Axemen in the AUS semi-final.

The playoff win earned them a place in this year's Subway Loney Bowl (AUS championship final) this Saturday at Huskies Stadium versus first-place Saint Mary's.

This season, Jeffrey's Mount Allison squad led the conference in scoring with 166 points, rushing touchdowns with nine and total touchdowns with 18.

The Mount Allison Mounties were the only squad in the conference to successfully down all three of their AUS opponents at least once this season. The first-place Saint Mary's Huskies did not post a win against them in regular season action.

"We are very pleased and proud to see Coach Jeffrey recognized as the AUS coach of the year," said Mount Allison director of athletics Pierre Arsenault. "We feel very fortunate that we have such strong leadership for our football program."

"The story of our season has been to improve each week, culminating in a captivating run to the playoffs that is still going," he continued. "Our success comes entirely as a result of the culture Kelly has built for our staff and every player in our program.  Kelly has our players believing in themselves and believing in each other and the ultimate outcome has been fantastic steps forward for the competitiveness of our program."

Prior to his career with Mount Allison, Jeffrey served as head coach and offensive coordinator at Mayville State University in North Dakota for four years (2002-2005) and as a quarterback coach at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (2001) and at the University of San Diego (1998-2000).

He also served as a running backs coach at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota from 1996 to 1997 and as a wide receivers coach at North Dakota's Dickinson State University from 1994-1995.

Jeffrey now becomes the AUS nominee for the Frank Tindall Trophy (CIS coach of the year). Head coach of the Acadia Axemen, Jeff Cummins, is the most recent AUS coach to receive the national honour, which he was awarded in 2011.


The Atlantic University Sport outstanding lineman of the year is Acadia Axemen defensive end Jesse St. James. 

St. James, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound native of Pincourt, Que, led the AUS conference in sacks this season with 10.

He was also named to the Atlantic conference's all-star squad Wednesday for the first time in his AUS career.

St. James posted 34 tackles this season (25 solo, 18 assisted), including his ten sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss of 62 yards. He also had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery this season.

"Jesse showed flashes of brilliance last year, but was overlooked because of the other all-stars we had graduate in 2012," said Axemen head coach Jeff Cummins. "We challenged Jesse in the off-season to be more consistent and he rose to the challenge and has now set the bar for all of our defensive players.

"Jesse's explosive takeoff allows him to make plays in the backfield and create problems for opposing teams," he added.

St. James will represent the conference as the nominee for the J.P. Metras Trophy which was last brought back to the AUFC in 1997 when StFX's Mike Kushnir was named the CIS's top lineman.

The last Acadia player to be named AUS lineman of the year was Jake Thomas, who took home the award following the 2011 season.


Fifth-year wide receiver Stu Moore (Halifax, N.S.) of the Mount Allison Mounties is the 2013 Atlantic University Sport student-athlete community service award recipient and will be the conference nominee for the prestigious Russ Jackson Award.

Named after CFL quarterback Russ Jackson, this award recognizes a Canadian university football player who excels on the field, in academics, and in community service.

Moore, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound commerce student has been named an academic all-Canadian in his past two seasons with the Mounties. He had ten receptions for 114 yards this season and played in six games.

In the community, Moore volunteers for a number of initiatives, including serving as a committee member for both the local Right to Play organization and the local chapter of the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

From 2009-2012, Moore acted as a mentor for at-risk youth in Sackville for the Mount Allison Youth Mentorship Program. He has also been a student tutor and mentor for the Mounties in Motion program since 2009, providing social and academic support for students at nearby Salem Elementary School.

In addition, Moore is also the project coordinator for Mount Allison football's Heroes in the Hallway anti-bullying program which organizes team visits to elementary schools in the surrounding area to address bullying issues and teach strategies to eliminate bullying.

"Stu provides us with great leadership on and off the field.  He is a self-starter who has been a great role model for what a total student-athlete can be," said Mounties head coach Kelly Jeffrey. "His excellence in the classroom combined with his community work has been a great inspiration to the rest of the team."

"Stu has positively represented our university and football program in so many different ways while maintaining an excellent academic record," he added. "There doesn't seem to be anything he can't do."

The last AUS student-athlete to earn CIS honours in this category was Mount Allison's Dan Parker who won the award in 2005.

VOLUNTEER COACH OF THE YEAR: Joe Taplin, Saint Mary's (Phil Hughes Award)

Joe Taplin of the Saint Mary's Huskies is the 2013 recipient of the Phil Hughes Award as the Atlantic University Sport volunteer coach of the year.

Taplin, a native of Dartmouth, N.S., who is also a sergeant with the RCMP, joined the Huskies coaching staff in 2002 as the linebacker coach and has coached with the team as a volunteer assistant since. This is the second consecutive year Taplin is being honoured with the award.

In 2011, Taplin developed the concept of the "13th player" for the Huskies football team–an initiative where the Huskies football program partnered with the Nova Scotia Special Olympics to have a representative as the 13th player at each home game.

At each home game, a Special Olympic athlete leads the team onto the field carrying the Huskies flag and remains on the sidelines for the game, followed by a visit to the locker room after the game with the players.

Taplin has dedicated countless hours to ensure this program's success over the past three years.

From 2003 to 2006, Joe also worked with Huskies football players and partnered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Halifax to develop the in-school mentoring program. The focus of the program was to work with little brothers to encourage them to stay in school by instilling in them the value of education.

In 2002, Taplin developed the Huskies' Bullies Never Win program. He put the Huskies football players through a training session on how to stop bullying and then partnered with the RCMP, Halifax Regional Police and the Halifax School Board to visit local schools to deliver this program to over 15,000 students from 2002-2008.

"Joe has been a valued member of the Saint Mary's football family for a number of years and has been a tremendous help to all on our coaching staff," said Huskies head coach Perry Marchese. "He continues to be a role model to our players and is the leader of a number of our community efforts, particularly Special Olympics."

In addition to being named AUS volunteer coach of the year last year, Taplin also earned the honour in 2007.

All Atlantic University Sport major award winners automatically become finalists for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) awards which will be handed out during Vanier Cup week hosted by Université Lavel in Quebec City, Que.

The 2013 Subway AUS Loney Bowl takes place this Saturday at Huskies Stadium on the campus of Saint Mary's University in Halifax, N.S.

The Saint Mary's Huskies (5-3) host the Mount Allison Mounties (4-4, 1-0 playoffs) to battle for the Jewett Trophy, Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. live on Eastlink TV. The game will also be available live via webcast at

The winner will advance to the 2013 CIS Uteck Bowl, which will be played Saturday, Nov. 16 at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets for the 2013 Subway AUS Loney Bowl are on sale now at the Homburg Centre.

Tickets for the 2013 CIS Uteck Bowl are on sale now through Ticket Atlantic by calling (902)451-1221 or online at