|Putting up some of the best quarterback statistics in all of Division III has earned Monmouth College's Alex Tanney the Melberger Award, given annually since 1993 to the nation's top Division III player.
Sponsored by Diversified Information Technologies, the Melberger Award is selected by a nationwide panel based solely on a player's performance on the field. The award also brings with it a $2,500 check for the college's general scholarship fund.
"It's nice to learn the panel selected me as the best player in the nation," said Tanney, a month after narrowly missing the Gagliardi Trophy which combines athletics, academics and community service. "I have to credit all the great players around me who make my job easy. Coach Bell and his staff have really helped me develop my skills, but like any award, it's really a reflection of the success of our team. I was also extremely pleased to hear that the award includes a donation to the college's general scholarship fund."
Tanney, a junior business major, All-American and two-time Midwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year, led the division last season with 3,856 passing yards. His 44 passing TDs and one rushing score made him responsible for more than 24 points per game, ranking him second in the division. The 6-foot-4 signal-caller also accounted for 350.55 passing yards and 348.73 total yards per game, ranking him fourth in both categories. His 164.07 pass efficiency rating placed him ninth.
"It's a pleasure to coach a player like Alex who realizes individual achievements are a culmination of the success of the team," said coach Steve Bell. "He's not a vocal type of leader, but just goes out there day after day and does his job to the best of his ability. That work ethic has had a tremendous influence on our players and how they go about their business."
Monmouth College president Mauri Ditzler agreed that excellence is contagious.
"We have high aspirations for our students," said president Mauri Ditzler. "We are proud when they do well and not surprised when they rise to the very top. When a student excels in one area, it inspires excellence in other areas, as other students are inspired to set high goals. We're also grateful for the long relationship we have had with the Tanney family that extends across several generations and multiple family members."
With Tanney under center, the Fighting Scots climbed as high as No. 8 in the national polls last season and completed their second consecutive unbeaten regular season. Nearly 50 school records were tied or broken in 2009, and Tanney had a hand in more than half the team records including yards per game (527.9) and single-game yards (699). Individually, he passed for more than 400 yards four times this season and set the school's career passing record (10,158). He sports a 28-5 career record as Monmouth's quarterback.
Diversified Information Technologies is a leading provider of document and information lifecycle solutions. Headquartered in Scranton, Penn., it has been in the business 27 years and operates in 18 locations nationwide and three locations internationally. Company president and CEO Scott Byers will make the trip to Monmouth for the team's annual awards banquet on February 14 at 2 p.m. in the Main Dining Room at the Stockdale Center.
Named in honor of company chairman Clifford K. Melberger, who was captain of the 1960 Lambert Cup-winning Bucknell University Bisons of Lewisburg, Penn., the Melberger Trophy is a carving made of pure anthracite coal, indigenous to his home area of northeastern Pennsylvania.
(Monmouth College Athletics)