July 16, 2007
LANCASTER, Pa. - Six seniors were named to the Gilburg Award watch list by the Franklin & Marshall Football Association on Monday. Since 2004, the Gilburg Award has been presented annually to the consensus All-America punter compiled from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), D3football.com and Associated Press Little All-America teams. It is named in honor of retired Franklin & Marshall football coach and former NCAA Division I and NFL punter, Tom Gilburg.
The 2006 recipient, Kevin Soflkianics, of Baldwin-Wallace headlines the group from the class of 2008, and could become the first player to take the award twice. Dominick Anacona (Hobart), Chris Dooley (Shenandoah), Paul Fortman (St. Olaf), Jesse Harms (Coast Guard), and Aaron McLean (Millikin) round out the players gaining preseason consideration.
Soflkiancs (Middleburg Heights, Ohio) is a two-time All-American and a 2007 CoSIDA / ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American. He punted 44 times for 1,875 yards, averaging 42.6 yards per punt. He also dropped 14 punts inside opponents' 20-yardlines. In his three seasons at B-W, Soflkiancs has led the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) in punting each season and has been the first-team All-OAC punter each year. In 30 career games, he is averaging 41.7 yards per punt in 152 attempts with a career-long punt of 70 yards and 45 punts that have landed inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
Anacona (Garden City, N.Y.) was a three-time Liberty League Special Teams Performer of the Week in 2006. He led the league and ranked fifth in the nation with an average of 41.3 yards per punt. Ancona was named first-team All-Liberty League, selected to the D3Football.com All-East second team and All-America honorable mention, and tabbed an ECAC Northwest All-Star for his efforts in 2006, which included a season-long 65-yard punt against Union.
In 2006, Dooley (Laurel, Md.) was named first team All-American by Football Gazette, All-USA South, second team All-South Region by the Football Gazette, third team All-South by D3football.com and All-State by the Virginia State Sports Information Directors. He averaged 40.6 yards on a school-record 71 punts this season with a long of 64 yards and 13 downed inside the 20-yard line. Perhaps his best game of the year came in week 10 against Maryville, when he averaged 52.0 yards on five punts and completed one pass for 28 yards for a first down. Three of those five punts he had against the Fighting Scots were downed inside the 20.
A D3football.com All-West Region selection a year ago, Fortman (Stillwater, Minn.) punted 28 times for a 41.8 yard/punt average in 2006, pinning opponents inside their 20-yardline 12 times. He made 7-of-9 field goal attempts and 42-of-46 PAT's. He was named the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (MIAC) special teams player of the week three times and was named All-Conference as a punter and kicker.
Harms (St. Petersburg, Fla.), led the New England Football Conference (NEFC) and was fourth nationally with a 41.6 yard average in 2006. He was named to the D3football.com All-America third team for the second time last fall. He was the first-team All-Bogan Division punter, a member of the New England Football Writers Division II/II team and led all of New England, Divisions I, II and III, with his 41.6 yard average.
McLean (Belville, Ill.) led the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) in punting for the second straight year en route to his back-to-back first-team All-CCIW and second-team D3football.com All-Region picks. McLean was also named the second-team All-Region team by the Football Gazette for the 2006 season before picking up the honorable mention All-America honor from the group. In 2006 he had 51 punts for the Big Blue, totaling 2,051 yards (40.2 per punt) and landed 11 inside the 20-yard line. His long punt of the year was credited at 67 yards. In CCIW play, he had 36 punts for 1,418 yards and an average of 39.4 yards per punt with 10 landing inside the 20.
Founded in 2004, the Gilburg Award was first presented to Franklin & Marshall College All-America punter Dan Eggertsson '05. He was named to the 2004 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division III Coaches first team, D3football.com All-America second team, Associated Press Little All-America third team and Don Hansen's Football Gazette All-America third team.
The head football coach at Franklin & Marshall College from 1975-2002, Gilburg was a standout punter first at Syracuse University and later in the National Football League with the Baltimore Colts. A native of Chappaqua, New York, he compiled a 160-112-2 record in football over 28 seasons on the sidelines at F&M, the most wins by a coach in the program's history.
Gilburg's 28-years on the Franklin & Marshall football sideline brought five Centennial Conference Championships (1986, 1987, 1988, 1993, 1995) and two Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships (1987 & 1989) to Lancaster. His players earned eight All-America First Team selections and 11 Conference Most Valuable Player honors.
Previous Gilburg Award Winners
2004: Dan Eggertsson, Franklin & Marshall College
2005: Hunter Hamrick, Mary Hardin-Baylor University
2006: Kevin Soflkianics, Baldwin-Wallace College