2023 AUS football major award winners and all-stars announced

2023 AUS football major award winners and all-stars announced

STFX's Silas Fagnan named AUS' Most Outstanding Player

(HALIFAX, N.S.)  Atlantic University Sport (AUS) is pleased to announce the 2023 football major award winners and all-stars, as selected by the conference's five head coaches following regular season play.

MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER OF THE YEAR (Chris Flynn Trophy): Silas Fagnan, STFX University
Silas Fagnan of the STFX X-Men has been selected as the AUS Most Outstanding Player of the Year for 2023.

The 6'2", 200lb quarterback from Bonnyville, AB, who also won this award back in 2021, started under centre in each of his team's eight games this season, leading them to a league-best 8-0 record.

A third-year Arts student, Fagnan finished first among all AUS signal callers in completions (138), touchdowns (13), yards passing (2,075) and yards passing per game (259.4). His 2,075 passing yards are the 8th highest single-season total in AUS history and rank third in school history behind former X-Men QB's Tivon Cook (2,537 yards in 2016) and Steve Snyder (2,353 yards in 2009).

In addition to being named the AUS' MOP for 2023, Fagnan was also named to the AUS Conference All-Star Team for the second consecutive season.

This marks the fifth time in the last seven seasons that a player from the X-Men has been named the AUS' Most Outstanding Player, joining recent winners Malcolm Bussey (2022), Kaion Julien-Grant (2018) and Tivon Cook (2016).

Fagnan will now move forward as the AUS Conference's nominee for the Hec Crighton Trophy as U SPORTS Most Outstanding Player.

The most recent player from the AUS to earn the national award was former Saint Mary's standout Erik Glavic, who was honoured in 2007.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Mikaël Pattin, Bishop's University
Bishop's University Gaiters offensive lineman Mikaël Pattin has been named the AUS Rookie of the Year.

The 6'1" 245lb product of Mandeville, QC, played in each of his team's eight games this season and also earned a conference All-Star selection at Tackle. His work on the offensive line helped Bishop's average a league-leading 186.0 rushing yards per game.

Pattin, a political science major, becomes the first offensive lineman to win AUS Rookie of the Year since STFX's Stewart Walsh did so back in 2007, and the first Bishop's player to do so since defensive back Liam Patton took home the award in 2017.

His coaches used words like 'trustworthy' and 'difference maker' to describe his play this year and what they expect from him in the future.

Pattin now becomes the Atlantic conference nominee for the U SPORTS National Rookie of the Year award, the Peter Gorman Trophy. The last AUS player to win this award was Mount Allison's Jakob Loucks in 2016.

OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR (Tony Proudfoot Trophy): Daniel Bell, Mount Allison University
Mount Allison Mounties defensive back Daniel Bell has been named the AUS Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year.

Hailing from Saint John, N.B., the 6'2", 200lb Bell played in all eight regular season games for the Mounties this season.

The fourth-year Arts student was not only the conference leader in total tackles with 63.0 (49 solo, 28 assisted), but the entire country, edging out University of Ottawa linebacker Max Charbonneau (62.0 total tackles) for top spot among all U SPORTS defenders. Bell's 7.9 tackles a game also placed him first in the nation.

On top of the Outstanding Defensive Player Award, Bell also was recognized as a conference All-Star.

This is the third AUS football Major Award for Bell, who also took home Outstanding Defensive Player honours in 2021, and the Rookie of the Year trophy in 2019.

Bell will now represent the conference as the AUS nominee for the U SPORTS Presidents' Trophy awarded to the national Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. The last AUS player to win the national award was Jonathan Langa, of the Saint Mary's Huskies, in 2014.

Alex Fedchun of the STFX X-Men has been named the AUS Outstanding Lineman of the Year for 2023. The 6'5", 240lb defensive lineman, who also won the award last season, played in all eight regular-season games for the X-Men.

An Arts student from Calgary, Alberta, Fedchun led the conference in sacks during the regular season, with 6.5 —third most in the country—and had the second-most sack yards in the AUS with 32. Had also tallied 29.5 total tackles (18 solo, 23 assisted) for an average of 3.7 tackles per game and eight tackles for losses.

Fedchun wraps up his five-year career as the all-time sack leader in school history with 23.5, ranking him third all-time in the AUS record book.

He is the first AUS player to win two Outstanding Lineman of the Year awards since Acadia's Jesse St. James won in both 2013 and 2015, and the first to win back-to-back honours since Acadia's Adam Rogers did so in 2006 and 2007.

Fedchun is the second X-Men player to win this award in the last decade, after Vernon Sainvil in 2016. In addition to being named the league's top lineman, Fedchun was named to the AUS All-Star team.

He will represent the conference as the nominee for the J.P. Metras Trophy for the U SPORTS National Lineman of the Year. STFX's Mike Kushnir was the last Atlantic conference player to take home this honour, in 1997.

Spencer Richard of the Acadia Axemen is the 2023 AUS Student-Athlete Community Service Award recipient.

The 5'11", 212lb veteran linebacker suited up for the Axemen in all eight games this season, recording 34.5 total tackles (28 solo, 13 assisted) and one sack.

A fourth-year player and Marine Biology student with a 4.0 GPA from Wolfville, N.S., Richard was the recipient of the Atlantic Society of Fish and Wildlife Biologists Dodd's Scholarship as well as the Noelle Fuller Memorial Award and Acadia Excellence Scholarship.

Since 2019, Richard has volunteered with Acadia University's Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience (S.M.I.L.E) Program, which provides physical activity planning for individuals with disabilities. In May of 2021, Richard became the program's Student Director.

He also volunteers as head coach of the Wolfville School and U16 AXE Basketball metro boys' basketball teams, as well as serving as a member of the Axewomen basketball scout team.

On campus, Richard serves as a study hall mentor, providing academic assistance and guidance to his teammates – often first-year students who require help with assignments, citations or managing workload.

Richard will be the conference nominee for the prestigious U SPORTS Russ Jackson Award. Saint Mary's University's Duncan Patterson was the last AUS student-athlete to be honoured nationally, in 2022.

COACH OF THE YEAR (Larry Uteck Trophy): Gary Waterman, STFX University 
For the sixth time in his career with the STFX X-Men, head coach Gary Waterman has been chosen by his peers as the Atlantic conference Coach of the Year.

It is the third straight, and sixth overall, AUS Coach of the Year honour for Waterman, who also won in 2022, 2021, 2018, 2016 and 2015. The six awards ties Acadia's Jeff Cummins for most won by an AUS coach.

In his 15th year at the helm for the X-Men, Waterman led his team to an 8-0 regular-season record.

In 2023 regular season play, STFX led the conference in scoring (307), points per game (38.4), yards per game (443.4), passing yards (2,158), passing touchdowns (13), rushing touchdowns (13), field goals (24-29), sacks (23) and points per game against (12.5). Eleven of his players were also named to the 2023 AUS All-Star Team.

Waterman now becomes the Atlantic conference nominee for this year's U SPORTS Coach of the Year award, the Frank Tindall Trophy. He is most recent AUS coach to receive the national honour, which he was awarded in 2021.

ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR (Phil Hughes Award): Matt Elliott, Saint Mary's University 
Matt Elliott of the Saint Mary's University Huskies is the 2023 recipient of the Phil Hughes Assistant Coach of the Year Award.

Elliott has been involved with Saint Mary's football since his time as a student dating back to the late 90s. He has held the title of assistant coach since 2017, spending his time as a receivers coach, a running back coach and this last season, as the H-backs coach.

He also oversees the team's GameStrat operations, which entails the use of instant replay and data analysis for real-time coaching purposes and helps organize community service events.

Huskies head coach Steve Sumarah praised Elliott's dedication to the game of football, whether it be at the minor, high school or post-secondary level.

His work with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has led to volunteering opportunities with Hunt for Heroes – who facilitate mental health awareness and outdoor adventures to CAF veterans, first responders, and their families.

He will now move on to be the AUS nominee for the U SPORTS Gino Fracas Award – an award given annually to an assistant coach who does not make a full-time living coaching football for the university. Saint Mary's Huskies' Joe Taplin is the most recent AUS recipient of the national award. He won in 2013.


Defensive tackle: Vincenzo Frangione, Mount Allison (5th year – Ottawa, ON)
Defensive tackle: Kyle Chappus, Acadia (5th year – Back River, N.S.)
Defensive end: Alex Fedchun, STFX (5th year - Calgary, AB)
Defensive end: Samuel Robichaud, Bishop's (3rd year - Quebec, QC)
Linebacker: Gabriel Royer, Bishop's (3rd year - Lawrenceville, QC)    
Linebacker: Owen O'Neal, Mount Allison (3rd year - Sackville, N.B.)
Linebacker: Josh Connors, STFX (3rd year – Toronto, ON)
Rush/cover: Riley Gabriel, Acadia (5th year – North River, N.S.)
Safety: Yani Gouadfel, Bishop's (3rd year – Mitry-Mory, France)
Halfback: Daniel Bell, Mount Allison (4th year - Saint John, N.B.)
Halfback: Brandyn Martin, STFX (4th year - Melfort, SK)
Cornerback: Jassin States-McClean, Saint Mary's (5th year - Halifax, N.S.)
Cornerback: John Agette, Mount Allison (4th year – Ottawa, ON)


Centre: Nicolas Pilichos, Acadia (3rd year - Bedford, N.S.)
Guard: Will Chapman, STFX (4th year- Bedford, N.S.)
Guard: Olivier Fournier, Bishop's (4th year – Frampton, QC)
Tackle: Mikaël Pattin, Bishop's (1st year – Mandeville, QC)
Tackle: Mitchell Martel, Bishop's (3rd year - Pointe-Claire, QC)
Receiver: Zachary Houde, STFX (2nd year - Thetford Mines, QC)
Receiver: Ben Harrington, STFX (3rd year - Dartmouth, N.S.)
Receiver: Oliver Burnett, Bishop's (3rd year – Fredericton, N.B.)
Receiver: Liam Stewart, Saint Mary's (3rd year - Port Coquitlam, B.C.)
FB/TE/H-Back: Marco Briones, Bishop's (3rd year – Guadeloupe, Mexico)
Running back: Malcolm Bussey, STFX (3rd year - Hammonds Plains, N.S.)
Running back: Brandt Burzuk, Mount Allison (2nd year – Red Deer, AB)
Quarterback: Silas Fagnan, STFX (3rd year—Bonnyville, AB)


Punter: Max Capriotti, STFX (4th year – Mount Hope, ON)
Placekicker: Ben Hadley, STFX (4th year - Halifax, N.S.)
Kick returner: Ben Harrington, STFX (3rd year – Dartmouth, N.S.)


The AUS football semi-finals will be played Saturday, Nov 4 with STFX hosting Saint Mary's, and Bishop's welcoming Mount Allison. Both games will begin at 2 p.m. and can be watched live on AUStv.ca.

All Atlantic University Sport major award winners automatically become finalists for the U SPORTS awards, which will be announced at the U SPORTS All-Canadian Banquet later in November.


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