HAMILTON (U SPORTS) – Acadia Axemen bench boss Jeff Cummins was selected as U SPORTS Coach of the Year for the second time in his career Thursday night, as the national award winners were celebrated at the annual All-Canadian Gala.
University of Alberta running back Ed Ilnicki was honoured with the Hec Crighton Trophy as the Most Outstanding Player in U SPORTS football.
Official Vanier Cup website: www.vaniercup.com
Laval linebacker Adam Auclair was named the stand-up Defensive Player of the Year, Rouge et Or teammate Mathieu Betts was voted the Outstanding Down Lineman for the second straight season, Regina linebacker Nick Cross merited top rookie honours and Western linebacker Nick Vanin claimed the Russ Jackson Award recognizing excellence in football, academics and citizenship.
The gala held at the Hamilton Convention Centre officially kicked off the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Vanier Cup festivities, which will culminate on Saturday at Tim Hortons Field, where the Laval Rouge et Or and Western Mustangs are set to battle for Canadian university football supremacy starting at 1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific.
Television coverage on Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet ONE and TVA Sports gets under way at 12:30 p.m. with half-hour pre-game shows. The 53rd U SPORTS championship game is also available online through Sportsnet NOW and TVASports.ca and on the radio at AM900 CHML in Hamilton.
FRANK TINDALL TROPHY – JEFF CUMMINS (Acadia)
A five-time AUS coach of the year, Cummins had previously been honoured by his peers at the national level in 2011. John Huard, in 1981, is the only other Acadia winner of the Frank Tindall Trophy since it was first presented back in 1969.
In his 15th campaign at the helm of the Axemen, the former CFL defensive lineman led his troops to a 6-2 league record and a first-place finish in the AUS standings. Acadia topped the conference in a number of statistical categories on both sides of the ball, including total defence (375.5 yards per game), rushing defence (117.3) and rushing attack (208.3)
The Axemen would go on to capture the AUS banner, their fifth under Cummins.
"I absolutely could not be happier for a coach, as the national award Jeff is receiving is so incredibly deserved. His leadership and ability to guide his program without flinching, through some adversity through the season, is something I've admired and been so proud of," says executive director of athletics Kevin Dickie. "Jeff is a leader in our Athletic Department, and has become a good friend. So many discussions with him prior to and during the season, remind me how much he's put into making this season so successful as our head coach. I'm so happy for Jeff and his family."
CW: Wayne Harris, Calgary
OUA: Chris Bertoia, Waterloo
RSEQ: Glen Constantin, Laval
The 2017 U SPORTS football all-stars were also announced Thursday evening.
The following AUS players were named U SPORTS all-Canadians:
2017 U SPORTS FOOTBALL ALL-CANADIANS
WR Kaion Julien-Grant StFX 2 Toronto, Ont. Human Kinetics
DE Jadarius Ceasar Saint Mary's 2 Tuscaloosa, Ala. Arts
RET Johnny King Saint Mary's 1 Greensboro, N.C. Arts
DT Adam Melanson Acadia 5 Kentville, N.S. Arts
For the complete lists of U SPORTS major award winners and all-stars, please visit: www.USPORTS.ca.
Source: U SPORTS Communications