NEW YORK – Head coach Norries Wilson announced the Lions' 2006 season team award-winners at the team dinner in Low Library Rotunda. Senior co-captain Adam Brekke headed the list as the winner of the Sid Luckman Most Valuable Player Award.
"Adam is a great communicator," Wilson noted. "He found a way to lead the team positively. I think he went out the way he wanted to go out, with a couple of league wins."
Wilson thanked his coaching staff, support staff, alumni, University administrators and many others during the course of the evening. He thanked his team and had a special thank-you to the members of the scout team, who were stalwart in practice despite not being able to take breaks between drills due to roster numbers this season.
Of the season, Wilson said, "We got competitive a lot faster than I thought we would."
Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education, read a letter she had written for the team. "I am so proud of you," she said. "It is safe to say something happened this year that was nothing less than magic."
Wilson presented the 10 awards. Following the awards, the team, which was gathered – as Wilson noted – for the final time as the 2006 Lions, performed a rousing, multi-key rendition of "Roar, Lion, Roar."
The evening ended with the presentation of the season highlight video, filmed and produced by Joe Case '02CC. The video culminated with the dramatic final drive of the season, as the Lions rallied to defeat Brown, capped by a Jon Rocholl field goal.
"I knew he made the kick and I still got chills," Greg Sigler, defensive assistant, noted after seeing the video.
One clip in the lockerroom prior to the Brown game showed Wilson telling his team, "You are the best team in the league right now." He told the players it was a result of their own effort, not anything he or his staff did.
The 2006 Columbia team award-winners follow:
Sid Luckman Most Valuable Player Award: Adam Brekke (Sr., LB)
Lou Little Coaches Most Improved Award: Phillip Mitchell (So., DE)
John J. Cirigliano Ironman Award: Tad Crawford (Sr., FS)
Special Forces Award: Thomas Weldon (Jr.)
Maniatty-Remmer Unsung Hero Award: Calder Orr (Sr., OG)
Ken Germann Freshman Award: Andy Shalbrack (Fr., OLB)
Phil Fusco Award: Adrian Demko (Sr., WR), Nick DeGasperis (Sr., WR)
Most Valuable Offense: Austin Knowlin (Fr., WR)
Most Valuable Defense: Darren Schmidt (Sr., DE)