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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Rob McCutcheon
WARRENSBURG, MO (Dec. 20, 2010) –Mules quarterback Eric Czerniewski has been named the winner of the 2010 Harlon Hill Award, symbolic of the top player in Division II. Czerniewski received the honor Friday evening, Dec. 17, in Florence, Ala., at a ceremony before 400 people on the eve of the DII national championship game Saturday.
Czerniewski finished six votes ahead of West Liberty (W.V.) University quarterback Zach Amedro. Northwest Missouri State quarterback Blake Bollesfinished third.
“I knew it definitely would be close,” Czerniewski said. “I’m very excited and still shocked and surprised about the whole thing. It’s just an honor to win this trophy. It means the world to me. You can say anything you can imagine, that is what it means.””
Czerniewski established a new single-season NCAA-II record with 5,207 passing yards to lead the Mules to a program record 11-3 mark and advancement into the quarterfinal round of the NCAA-II Playoffs. Hei is the first Mules player to ever receive the award, and the fifth player all-time to earn the honor from the MIAA, the first since 1996.
“He took it to another level this year,” said his coach Jim Svoboda. “Like he said, he had a tremendous supporting cast around him. And we were in a position where we needed to throw the ball offensively. Probably the most impressive thing is that we kind of put the whole thing on his shoulders. We weren’t going to be a team that line up and pound the football. It just wasn’t our makeup. “He never felt the pressure, he just did what he did because he has great passion for the game.”
Czerniewski said he hasn’t ruled out trying to play as a professional. “Anything, I guess is a possibility, but I actually accepted an assistant manager role with Sherwin‐Williams in Kansas City.”