Salem Rotarian Mark Henrickson (left) talks with Blaine Westemeyer of Augustana College following presentation of the 17th Annual Gagliardi Trophy to Westemeyer as the nation’s outstanding football player of the year in NCAA Division III.
A senior, the honoree is an offensive tackle and is the first offensive lineman to receive the honor, which was originated by Henrickson and the Rotary Club of Salem 17 years ago when Henrickson originated the award idea. In his football playing days, Henrickson was also an offensive lineman.
Along with the award goes a $2,500 scholarship to the recipient’s college from the Rotary Club of Salem’s Club Foundation. The trophy was presented at the conclusion of the Rotary Club of Salem’s annual Stagg Bowl participants’ banquet and club meeting Dec. 17 at the Salem Civic Center.
The Stagg Bowl for the NCAA Division III football championship saw University of Wisconsin-Whitewater defeated Mount Union College in the fifth meeting in as many years for the title. The award, sponsored by Jostens, Inc., recognizes excellence in academics, athletics and community service.
Captain of his football team in 2009, Westemeyer is a biochemistry/pre-medicine major with a 3.94 grade point average. The Gagliardi Trophy was first presented in 1993 to the Outstanding Division III college football player of the year by the Jostens Company and the J-Club of Saint John’s University in Minnesota. 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,. The award is named for John Gagliardi, head football coach of St. John’s University in Minnesota.
- Photo by Salem Rotarian Earline Orndorff