TIFFIN — Hard work and perseverance. All coaches preach that to their players, no matter the sport. By working hard and persevering through adversity, good things will come.
Heidelberg University linebacker and Centerburg graduate Craig Sykes is the perfect example of what good will come when you put those two things together.
Sykes missed two years of football due to injuries over the course of his high school and college careers, but is now being honored as one of the best in Division III football. He was recently named one of 10 finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, awarded to the top all-around student-athlete in NCAA Division III football.
“Just being nominated as a finalist is a great honor,” Sykes said. “There are 200 teams in Division III and to be selected as one of the 10 best players is pretty great.”
“We are very proud of Craig and his selection as a Gagliardi finalist,” Heidelberg head football coach Mike Hallett said in an earlier interview with the university. “Craig embodies the best of the student-athlete experience, excelling in the classroom, on the field, and in the community.
“Craig is a shining example of what every coach envisions his players to become: scholar, athlete, and community leader. His hard work and dedication have earned him great recognition, and is a worthy candidate for this outstanding award.”
The Gagliardi Trophy is named in honor of John Gagliardi, the recently retired coach at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. A head coach for 64 years, Gagliardi has the most wins in college football history, with 489. Fitting in with the NCAA Division III ideals, the Gagliardi Trophy honors excellence in academics, athletics and community service. The top four finalists, which will be named Tuesday, will travel to Salem, Va., Dec. 14 for the awarding of the trophy.
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