Posted: Nov 09, 2012
(HALIFAX, N.S.) - Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2012 football major award winners as selected by the conference's four head coaches following regular season play.
The first place Acadia Axemen and second place Saint Mary's Huskies accounted for six of the seven major awards announced by the conference today, with Acadia quarterback Kyle Graves once again being named the AUS football outstanding player of the year.
OUTSTANDING PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kyle Graves, Acadia (Chris Flynn Trophy)
For the second consecutive season, quarterback Kyle Graves of the CIS No. 9-ranked Acadia Axemen has been selected as the Atlantic University Sport most outstanding player.
Graves, a fifth-year senior from Barrie, Ont., led his team to another 7-1 record and was also named an AUS all-star this week at both quarterback and punter for the second year in a row.
He led the league in passing yards (2,012), completions (156), passing TD's (14), completion percentage (57.1 percent) and punting average (40.3 yards per punt). He also rushed the ball 28 times for 167 yards rushing and two TD's.
Kyle, who attended the Montreal Alouettes training camp this past summer, is now sixth in all-time passing yardage with 5,433, third in Acadia school history behind only Larry Jusdanis and Bob Cameron.
He wraps up his five-year career in the top ten of every career AUS passing list. He ranks fourth in career completions (418), fifth in attempts (753) and his 39 career TD passes are 10th all-time.
"In my opinion, Kyle is quite simply the most athletic and versatile quarterback in the country," says Acadia head coach Jeff Cummins. "The skill set that Kyle brings to the table is rarely found at this level, is very unique and honestly I think we have taken it for granted now that he is finishing his final season. His ability to throw, run, punt and lead his team, make him a constant threat whenever he touches the field. His arm strength combined with accuracy and an ability to put touch on both the short and deep ball give Kyle the tools he needs to pick apart defenses."
Graves, Ivan Birungi (2005 and 2006) and Blaine Scatcherd (1999) are the most recent Axemen to be named the conference's player of the year.
Former Saint Mary's QB 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 outstanding player in CIS.
Lapointe won the award both in 1996 and 1998 while Glavic was the 2007 recipient.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Thomas Troop, Acadia
The AUS rookie of the year is Acadia running back Thomas Troop.
The Alliston, Ont. native became a starter for the Axemen in Week 5 of the regular season after missing the opening weeks of the season due to an injury in training camp.
In just five games (four as the starting tailback), Troop posted 421 yards rushing on 63 carries, averaging 84.2 yards per game, including 6.7 yards per carry and one touchdown. Troop's 6.7 yards per attempt ranked fourth in the conference.
Head Coach Jeff Cummins complimented Thomas for his progress this season.
"Thomas is a unique 18 year-old who plays like a third year guy," says Cummins. "We are very fortunate to have him and his running style lends itself to gaining extra yards while running with his forward lean. I believe teams will have to prepare for Thomas for the next four years and I like the sound of that."
Troop comes from a good football lineage, as his father Alex Troop played his CIS football days with the Laurier Golden Hawks and as a multi-year all-Canadian before spending three seasons with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the CFL.
Former Acadia player Elliott Richardson is the most recent Axemen player to be named the Atlantic conference rookie of the year (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.
OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Brett Hubbeard, StFX (Tony Proudfoot Trophy)
StFX X-Men linebacker Brett Hubbeard, a native of Peterborough, Ont., has been named the AUS defensive player of the year.
A fourth-year Arts student in his third year eligibility, Brett led the Atlantic conference in tackles with 59.5 (41 solo and 37 assisted tackles) in eight games played. His 41 solo tackles also led the league and his 2012 totals included 1.5 sacks and 10.0 tackles for a loss.
Named an AUS all-star at linebacker Wednesday for the second consecutive season, Hubbeard also led the conference in tackles per game with an average of 7.4.
Brett, who participated in the 2012 East-West Bowl this past spring, also had two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and was credited with five pass break-ups for the X-Men defense this year.
"It is exciting to witness the continued improvement of Brett Hubbeard," says StFX head coach Gary Waterman. "He is a leader on our squad and a team captain who plays the game with passion. We are very proud of Brett and expect big things from him in the 2013 season."
Hubbeard will represent the conference as the AUS nominee for the Presidents' Trophy. StFX's 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 Presidents' Trophy, which he was awarded in 2010.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Jeff Cummins, Acadia (Larry Uteck Trophy)
Acadia head coach Jeff Cummins guided the CIS No. 9-ranked Axemen to a second consecutive 7-1 regular season record and a first place finish, and has once again been chosen by his peers as the Atlantic conference coach of the year.
Cummins, in his tenth year at the helm of the Axemen program, is being honoured as the AUS coach of the year for the fourth time. He was previously named the AUS coach of the year in 2004, 2005 and 2011.
This year his Acadia squad led the conference in scoring with 229 points, passing offense with 2,080 yards and 14 passing TD's. The Axemen were 7-0 versus AUS opponents, their only loss coming against second-ranked Laval in interlock competition.
"Jeff is extremely deserving of his second consecutive coach of the year award," says Acadia Director of Athletics Kevin Dickie. "His tremendous leadership on the field is balanced in a special way, by his passion for his players' overall development as people. He loves Acadia and the University feels the same way about him. As the Athletic Director, all of this is the reason I was so pleased to sign Jeff to a long-term extension last spring."
Since becoming head coach of the Axemen seven seasons ago, Jeff has posted a career record of 49 wins and 45 losses (regular season and post-season play) heading into this weekend's Loney Bowl.
As a defensive lineman, Cummins played in the Canadian Football League on various teams including: Las Vegas, Ottawa, Toronto and finishing with the 1999 Grey Cup champion Hamilton Tiger Cats. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 1992. A native of Torrance, California, Jeff lives in Wolfville with his wife Karen, son Joshua and daughter Sydney.
Cummins is most recent AUS coach to receive the Frank Tindall Trophy as the CIS coach of the year, which he was awarded in 2011.
OUTSTANDING LINEMAN OF THE YEAR: Rob Jubenville, Saint Mary's
The Atlantic University Sport outstanding lineman of the year is Saint Mary's Huskies defensive lineman Rob Jubenville.
Jubenville, a 6-foot-2, 255-pound native of Oshawa, Ont., led the AUS conference in sacks once again this season with 9.5 and wrapped up the 2012 season as the all-time leader in AUS career sacks with 27.0.
Rob, an AUS all-star and a second team CIS all-Canadian in 2011, also led the league in forced fumbles with six, tackles for a loss with 14.0 and was credited with 38.5 tackles.
He now ranks 16th all-time in AUS career tackles with 130.0.
"Rob is a great student of the game with an unbelievable motor," says first-year Saint Mary's head coach Perry Marchese. "He has an incredible desire to be great and a work ethic to match. He is a coach's dream."
Jubenville 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 Saint Mary's player to be named AUS lineman of the year was defensive lineman Devon Hicks, who took home the award following the 2009 season.
STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Matt Albright, Saint Mary's
Third-year offensive lineman Matt Albright (Dartmouth, N.S.) of the Saint Mary's Huskies is the 2012 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.
Albright, a 6-foot-5, 305-pound offensive tackle, is an academic all-Canadian with a GPA of 4.0. He is a leader on an offensive line that averages a league-best 201.4 yards per game and gave up just 10 quarterback sacks in eight regular season outings. Matt also represented Saint Mary's at the 2012 East-West Bowl this past spring.
In the community, Matt volunteers for a number of initiatives, including as an active participant in Ronald McDonald charity house events in the area and he has also participated in fundraising efforts for both prostate and breast cancer.
Selected as recruitment ambassador for Saint Mary's in local high schools this past year, Albright also helps with the 13th man program, an initiative where the Huskies football team has partnered with the Nova Scotia Special Olympics to have a representative as the 13th player at each home game.
Matt is also an active participant in the Halifax Shine-O-Rama campaign for cystic fibrosis, has served as a volunteer coach for the Dartmouth Destroyers youth football team and has served as a guest coach at a number of local high schools.
"Matt embodies a true student-athlete and is one of the most team-oriented players I have had the pleasure of coaching," says Saint Mary's head coach Perry Marchese. "He is one of the best players at his position in the country, while maintaining a 4.0 in our Science program with a full course load. He is a leader on our team who is always front and centre of any community initiative or charitable event."
The three other nominee's for this prestigious award were Acadia's Zack Clarke, Mount Allison's Stu Moore and Charlton Elliott of the StFX X-Men.
VOLUNTEER COACH OF THE YEAR: Joe Taplin, Saint Mary's (Phil Hughes Award)
Joe Taplin of the Saint Mary's Huskies is the 2012 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.
Joe's contributions to the team and the university reach far beyond the field of play.
In 2002 when bullying was an issue in Nova Scotia, Joe went out and developed the Huskies Bullies Never Win program where Coach Taplin put the Huskies football players through a training session on how to stop bullying and then partnered with the RCMP, Halifax Regional Police and Halifax School Board to attend local schools to deliver this program to over 15,000 students from 2002-2008.
From 2003 to 2006, Joe also worked with Huskies football players and partnered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Halifax and developed the in school mentoring program with them to work with little brothers to ensure they stay in school and to teach them the value and importance of an education.
In 2011, Taplin came up with the idea of developing 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 our 13th player at each home game. Joe has given countless hours to ensure this program is a huge success last year and once again in 2012.
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.
"Having Joe involved with the Huskies program is a huge benefit to us," says Saint Mary's head coach Perry Marchese. "Joe has the training and experience to work with and lead young men. He the ability to work in a team environment and as a former player and long-time coach, the knowledge of the game with the ability to impart that knowledge to the players. He serves as a great example to our players on and off the field and we are extremely proud to see him recognized with this award."
"I have been associated with many volunteer coaches who most give their time and expertise to their respective teams during practice and games," says Saint Mary's Director of Athletics, Dr. David Murphy. "Joe has always gone the extra mile for us at Saint Mary's. He is available year round and volunteers his time and limitless energy to fund raising events, community service events and programs as well as all practices and games. I cannot think of a better candidate than Sgt. Joe Taplin who epitomizes dedication, loyalty, selflessness, sacrifice and team work required for the exemplary volunteer."
All Atlantic University Sport major award winners automatically become finalists for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) awards to be handed out during Vanier Cup week in Toronto, Ont.
The 2012 Subway AUS Loney Bowl takes place this Saturday at Raymond Field on the campus of Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S.
The Acadia Axemen (7-1) host the Saint Mary's Huskies (3-5, 1-0 playoffs) to battle for the Jewett Trophy, Saturday afternoon at 1:00pm live on Eastlink Television. The game will also be available live on the internet via webcast at www.AUStv.ca.
The winner will advance to the Uteck Bowl, hosted this year by the RSEQ conference champions (either the Laval Rouge et Or or Sherbrooke Vert et Or), Saturday, November 17th at 2:00pm (AST).
Tickets for the 2012 Subway AUS Loney Bowl are on sale now at the Acadia University Box Office at 902-542-5500 or by visiting https://boxoffice.acadiau.ca/TheatreManager/1/login&event=0.