COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. -- University of Mount Union junior quarterback Kevin Burke (Westlake/Lakewood St. Edward) has been awarded the Gagliardi Trophy given to the top all-around football player in NCAA Division III.
Burke is 29-0 as the Purple Raiders' starting quarterback. A year ago, he earned All-American honors and was the OAC's Bob Packard Offensive Back of the Year as he led Mount Union to a 15-0 record, an Ohio Athletic Conference title and a record 11th NCAA Division III title. This season as the only returning starter on offense, he has led an offense that is currently the nation's top scoring offense as the Raiders are 13-0, ranked No. 1 in the nation, won their 22nd straight OAC title and are in the national semifinals for a 19th straight season.
This season he is the nation's No. 1 rated passer and leads the nation with 44 touchdown passes. He has completed 63-percent of his passes (212-of-337) for 3,514 yards while he is also the team's second leading rusher with 904 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. His 1,035 rushing yards is a school single season record for a quarterback.
Off the field, the Business Administration major, has done a variety of service projects through Mount Union's Ralph and Mary Regula Center of Public Service including packing and distributing meals to needy school children, organizing a fundraiser around Mount Union's Relay for Life event and being part of Trick or Treat with the Raiders community event.
A record five other Purple Raiders have won the Gagliardi Trophy. Quarterback Jim Ballard won the inaugural award in 1993, fellow quarterback Bill Borchert in 1997, running backs Chuck Moore and Dan Pugh won the award in 2001 and 2002, while quarterback Greg Micheli won the award in 2008.
The Gagliardi Trophy was first presented in 1993. Since that time, the award has become one of the leading collegiate football awards and is widely recognized as the premier individual award in Division III football, honoring excellence in athletics, academics and community service. The award is named for John Gagliardi who recently retired after coaching 64 years, 60 of those at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn. He is college football's all-time wins leader with 489 victories.
Nominations for the award are made by the college president with supporting letters and credentials provided by the head football coach. After screening the nominations, the SJU J-Club Board of Directors narrows the field to 10 finalists including at least one finalist in each of the four NCAA regions.
The 35-member Gagliardi Trophy national selection committee reviews the credentials, ranks the candidates 1-10 and casts their votes.