SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- December 15, 2006 -- Junior Quarterback Chris Sharpe of Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts has been named the 2006 winner of the prestigious Melberger Award, symbolic of Division III's top football player in the nation.
The Derry, New Hampshire native and Pinkerton Academy graduate put up very impressive statistics this past year as quarterback and quad-captain of the Pride, which finished 10-2, won the Empire 8 Conference co-championship, and reached the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. The runners-up were Joe Cline of Alma College, Josh Brehm of Alma College, Nate Kmic of Mount Union College and Dustin Huff of Wabash College.
Sharpe led the nation (Division III) this season in average yards rushing per game (161.8), average points per game (17.7), and touchdowns (35).
Sharpe led the Pride in all major offensive categories, breaking six NCAA Division III records and 12 Springfield College records in the process. The 5-9, 204-pounder completed the season with a school-record 1,941 total rushing yards and NCAA Division III record-tying 35 touchdowns for a quarterback. Sharpe’s other post-season accolades include: AP Little All-America Second Team, New England Football Writers Gold Helmet Award for the Season (New England Div. II/III Player of the Year), the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston Joseph P. Zabilski Award (New England Division II/III Player of the Year), First Team All-New England, Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Year, as well as Empire 8 Offensive First Team. He has also been named to the d3football.com All-East Region Offensive First Team as selected in balloting by Eastern regional sports information directors and d3football.com staff.
Chris also won the Empire 8 Sportsmanship Award for Springfield in his sophomore year, 2005.
“We’re just so proud of what Chris accomplished this season,” said SC Head Coach Mike DeLong. “He leads quietly, but so effectively. There could not be a finer representative, both on and off the field, of Springfield College.”
Sharpe is a Business Management major who has earned a 3.14 GPA on a 4.0 scale. He ultimately wants to own his own business or coach football or lacrosse. Chris has also been chosen captain of the Springfield men’s lacrosse team for this coming spring season.
Sharpe was SC’s representative to attend the 2006 NCAA Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida May 28-June 1, 2006. Chris is also a member of the Pride Athletic Advisory Committee as well as a member of the Community Service Committee on the Springfield College campus.
Chris Sharpe’s former coach at Pinkerton Academy, Brian O’Reilly, called him, “one of the most self-deprecating players I have ever seen. He is as involved off the field as he is on."
The Melberger Award is named in honor of Clifford K. Melberger, Chairman of Diversified Information Technologies and Captain of the 1960 LAMBERT CUP-winning Bucknell University Bisons of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
The Melberger Trophy is an actual carving, made of pure anthracite coal indigenous to Mr. Melberger’s area of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The carving represents an old-style leather football helmet, designed by Ed Donohue. It represents neither offense nor defense, but rather the dedication and determination of the Division III athlete.