At the final gathering of the 2009 team, Norries Wilson, Columbia's Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football, announced the Lions' 2009 award-winners during the team dinner in Low Library Rotunda, Sunday, December 6.
The keynote address was given by John Alex '89CC, captain of the 1988 team. Alex encouraged the senior class to maintain the family tradition of Columbia football and continue to give back. And in one of the more touching moments of the night, Alex thanked the team.
"Thank you for bringing back Columbia Football," Alex said. "No one wanted to play Columbia this season and that hasn't happened since Coach (Ray) Tellier back in the days of Marcellus Wiley and Rory Wilfork. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you."
As any Columbia fan would expect, the awards were senior-heavy.
"A lot of the seniors had to play as freshmen," said Wilson. "They had to play before they were ready. As time went on some of them didn't get the opportunity to play and that's hard. But they stuck with it. They tried to help the younger players. I just wanted to take this opportunity thank you."
The offensive and defensive MVPs, as decided by team vote, went to senior wide receiver Austin Knowlin and senior defensive end Lou Miller. Miller was a unanimous first team All-Ivy League selection, while Knowlin earned his third first-team nod this season.
The newest Columbia Football award, which debuted at the 2008 team dinner - the Jack Armstrong Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman - was awarded to senior John Seiler.
Sid Luckman Most Valuable Player Award went to Knowlin.
"He was the person team's game planned for. The game that everyone tried to stop," said Wilson. "And that was just after his freshman year. He returned punts, kicks, ran the ball and did everything to the best of his ability."
2009 Columbia Lions Varsity Football Awards
Phil Fusco Award: M.A. Olawale (Sr., QB)
Maniatty-Remmer Unsung Hero Award: Derek Jancisin (Sr., WR)
John J. Cirigliano Ironman Award: Taylor Joseph (Sr., WR)
Lou Little Coaches Most Improved Award: Jared Morine (Sr., CB)
Ken Germann Freshman Award: Sean Brackett (Fr., QB)
Special Forces Award: Augie Williams (Jr., SS)
Most Valuable Offense: Austin Knowlin (Sr., WR)
Most Valuable Defense: Lou Miller (Sr., DE)
Jack Armstrong Outstanding Offensive Lineman: John Seiler (Sr.)
Sid Luckman Most Valuable Player Award: Austin Knowlin (Sr., WR)