PHILADELPHIA - In addition to the newly introduced Lake Award, in honor of the late Coach Dan "Lake" Staffieri, the University of Pennsylvania football team recognized 2010's outstanding performers Friday night at the team's annual postseason banquet. In celebrating last year's championship season, the school presented eight awards to 17 recipients.
Edgar Church Memorial Award
Senior Zach Heller, as well as senior captain, Joseph D'Orazio received the Edgar Church Memorial Award, designated to the offensive and defensive players who, by vote of the letterwinners, made the biggest overall contribution to the team. Heller was a first-team All-Ivy recipient as he started all 10 games and was third on the Ivy League's top defense in tackles. D'Orazio was also a first-team All-Ivy recipient and started at center for the top team in the Ivy League in rushing offense, scoring offense, total offense and fewest sacks allowed.
The Bednarik Award, given to the most outstanding offensive and defensive linemen, was presented to senior Drew Goldsmith and junior Greg Van Roten. A second-team All-Ivy member, Goldsmith ranked seventh in the Ivy League in sacks in 2010 and had a team-high five pass breakups and two fumble recoveries. Van Roten anchored an offensive line that led the Ivy League in fewest sacks allowed for the second straight season. He started all 10 games for the Ivy League's top ranked offense in 2010.
The prestigious George A. Munger Award, named after the Hall of Fame coach and presented to the team's offensive and defensive most valuable players, was handed to sophomore quarterback Billy Ragone and junior linebacker Erik Rask. Ragone, a first-team All-Ivy selection, was a finalist for the 2010 Asa A. Bushnell Cup, given to the Ivy League's Most Valuable Player. Rask had a team-high 65 tackles for a Red and Blue unit that finished atop the Ivy League in total defense, scoring defense and sacks.
Seniors Ryan Murray and Brian Wing were presented with the Bagnell Award, named after Hall of Fame back Francis (Reds) Bagnell. This award had previously been given to the team's improved players, but is now awarded to the team's unsung heroes. Murray started all 10 games at tight end for the 2010 title. He caught five passes for 43 yards and one touchdown, while blocking for a Penn running game that finished atop the Ivy League and sixth in the nation in 2010. Wing started every game along the defensive line for the 2009 and 2010 championship teams. He was an All-Ivy Honorable Mention selection as a senior with a career-best 19 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss.
George A. Weiss Award
Senior Luke DeLuca and sophomore Brandon Copeland were both honored with the George A. Weiss Award, given to the players who most embody the grit and determination that is the "Pennsylvania kind of football." DeLuca was a third-team All-America selection and first-team All-Ivy pick in 2010. He started all 10 games at fullback in his senior campaign and finished his career with 13 touchdowns. Copeland, also a first-team All-Ivy honoree, led all Penn defensive linemen with 45 tackles and had a team-high 10.0 tackles for loss in addition to 3.0 sacks and an interception.
University of Pennsylvania Football Club Award
The Football Club Award for distinct athletic achievement was given to offensive lineman Luis Ruffolo on offense, defensive back Josh Powers on defense, and place kicker Andrew Samson on special teams. Running back Brandon Colavita and defensive back Matt Hamscher also received the award as offensive and defensive rookies. Ruffolo was part of an offensive line that ranked sixth in the nation in rushing offense, Powers started all 10 games at safety for the No. 4-ranked defense in the FCS, Samson became the school's all-time leading scorer, Colavita finished fourth in the Ivy League in rushing, and Hamscher earned second-team All-Ivy recognition in his first season as a defensive back after spending his first two seasons as a running back.
Awarded for the first time in 2010, the Lake Award is presented to the player who has displayed dedication to leadership, team spirit and Penn pride in honor of Coach Dan "Lake" Staffieri, a team motivator for 33 seasons. Senior captain Bradford Blackmon became the first-ever recipient of this award. Blackmon was a running back for three seasons before he was asked to move to defensive back as a senior. He started all 10 games there, and also played wide receiver while serving as the team's kick and punt returner. He was named All-Ivy honorable mention as a defensive back and All-Ivy honorable mention as a return specialist in 2010.
Man of the Year Award
In addition to the player awards, the late Coach Lake was named the Man of the Year for his continuous dedication to and support of Penn's football program. A Philadelphia native, Dan Staffieri, or "Coach Lake" completed 33 seasons with the Penn football program, winning 13 Ivy League titles. Staffieri was known as the emotional leader prior to game-days. He was the first person the team saw on the way out of the tunnel heading onto Franklin Field. Prior to his years at Penn, Staffieri was a four-year letter winner at the University of Maryland, graduating in 1952. He played in four bowl games and was a member of their 1953 National Championship team. He passed away in April of 2010.