Mount Union has a long tradition of excellent football. With excelent football and team success comes individual awards. This has lead to six Mount Union players winning Division III player of the Year honors Below is the list and highlights of Purple Raiders who have been honored as the top player in Division III.
Jim Ballard- 1993
Quarterback Jim Ballard was the recipient of the first Gagliardi Trophy and first Melberger Award recognizing the Division III Player of the Year. Ballard led the Purple Raiders to their first National Championship and undefeated season (14-0). He set 17 Mount Union, nine OAC, 15 NCAA Division III regular season and six Division III playoff records during his career. He threw eight touchdown passes against St. John's (MN) in the playoff semi-finals in December of '93, and followed that with a 28-of-45 performance for 387 yards and three touchdown passes in the National Championship game against Rowan (NJ) under weather conditions that included driving snow and a 35 mile per hour wind. Ballard became the first Mount Union player inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
1993 Statistics- 321/458, 70.1% completions, 4,572 yards, 54 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
Bill Borchert- 1996, 1997
Quarterback Bill Borchert earned the Melberger Award as the Division III Player of the Year in leading the Raiders (14-0) to their second National Championship. Borchert ignited an offense that led the nation in scoring during the regular season (49.4 ppg). In the National Championship game, he set Stagg Bowl records for touchdown passes (7), yards passing (505), and total offense (535). In 1997, Borchert was named the Gagliardi Trophy and Melberger Award winner as Division III football's best player as the Purple Raiders (14-0) won their second straight National Titile.
1996 Statistics- 250/374, 66.8% completions, 4,035 yards, 55 touchdowns, 9 interceptions
1997 Statistics- 275/413, 66.6% completions, 4,335 yards, 63 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Chuck Moore- 2001
Running back Chuck Moore won both the Gagliardi Trophy and the Melberger Award in leading the Purple Raiders to their sixth National Championship. Highlights included a 346-yard rushing performance against Wittenberg in playoff quarterfinals on December 1. He set a Stagg Bowl record with 273 rushing yards on 34 carries on December 15. Moore also set several tournament records, including yards rushing (998) and longest run (95 yards). He averaged over six yards per carry during his career (6.5 ypc career mark) and finished with 105 career touchdowns.
2001 Statistics- 319 attempts, 2,349 yards, 7.4 yards per carry, 30 touchdowns
Dan Pugh- 2002
Running back Dan Pugh was named the Gagliardi Trophy winner as the Division III Player of the Year in helping the Raiders (14-0) earn their seventh National Championship and third in a row. Highlights included five touchdowns in one half versus Otterbein on October 5 and a 254 yard performance against John Carroll on December 14 in the playoff semi-finals. Pugh set a then NCAA record with 41 touchdowns in 2002 as well as setting a Division III single-season all-purpose yard mark (3,192 yards).
2002 Statistics- 384 attempts, 2,303 yards, 6.0 yards per carry, 35 touchdowns
Nate Kmic- 2008
Running back Nate Kmic won the Melberger Award as he set an NCAA All-Divisions record with 2,790 yards as he helped Mount Union to a 15-0 record and its 10th National Championship in 2008. Against Wheaton (IL) in the playoffs, Kmic became college football's all-time leader in rushing yards on a 41-yard touchdown scamper. He would finish his career with 8,074 yards. He also became the most prolific scorer in NCAA history as his record 44 touchdowns in 2008 lifted him to a record 130 total touchdowns and 780 points.
2008 Statistics- 377 attempts, 2,790 yards, 7.4 yards per carry, 43 touchdowns
Greg Micheli- 2008
Quarterback Greg Micheli claimed the Gagliardi Trophy as he helped lead the Purple Raiders to an Undefeated 15-0 season and their 10th National Championship. Micheli is the only player to be named the Most Valuable Player of two Stagg Bowls as he won the honor in both 2006 and 2008. His 4,258 yards of total offense in 2008 is the sixth highest single season total in NCAA Division III history. Micheli finished his career with a passer rating of 197.4 which made him the most effecient quarterback in NCAA history.
2008 Statistics- 240/320, 75.0% completions, 3,743 yards, 36 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Kevin Burke - 2013, 2014
Quarterback Kevin Burke is the first and only two-time winner of the Gagliardi Trophy winning it in 2013 and 2014
In 2013, he helped lead the Purple Raiders to a 14-1 season, an OAC title and a 17th Stagg Bowl appearance. He passed for 3,830 yards and rushed for 1,025 yards which was the most rushing yards for a quarterback in a single season in school history. He led the nation with 44 touchdown passes.
2013 Statistics- 234/368, 63.6% completions, 3,830 yards, 44 touchdowns, 9 interceptions
In 2014, he again led the Raiders to a 14-1 season, an OAC title and 18th Stagg Bowl appearance. He passed for 4,412 yards and 52 touchdowns passing along with 599 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing. His 5,011 combined yards of total offense was a new Mount Union single season record and he led the nation with 52 touchdown passes.
2014 Statistics- 290/452, 64.2% completions, 4,412 yards, 52 touchdowns, 9 interceptions