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The Melberger Award

Bowers wins Melberger Award 

GROVE CITY, PA, January 20, 2001--R.J. Bowers was sleeping when the announcement was made.

At noon ET Saturday, the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Touchdown Club named Bowers winner of the 2000 Melberger Award, presented to the NCAA Division III Player of the Year.  

Bowers, nearly 5,000 miles and four time zones away, was resting comfortably in preparation for the 2001 Hula Bowl, which kicked off at 8:00 p.m. ET.  Upon waking up to the news, Bowers said, "It's a great honor to win such a prestigious award.  I want to thank all the members of the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Touchdown Club, its staffers and the selection committee.  I share this award with all of my teammates and coaches over the past four years who have made this achievement possible."

The 6-1, 245-pound senior fullback became college football's all-time leading rusher with 7,353 career yards and broke the all-time scoring record with 562 career points.  In all, Bowers set eight NCAA all-divisions records and 11 Division III marks.

The other two finalists for the award were senior quarterback Chad Johnson of Pacific Lutheran (WA) and senior running back Damon Saxon from King's College (PA).

Bowers added, "I also want to congratulate Chad and Damon on excellent seasons.  Both would have been great choices to win Division III's player of the year award."

Wolverine offensive coordinator Bill Jordan accepted the award on Bowers' behalf.

The three-time All-American was a finalist for the 1998 Melberger Award, won by Trinity (TX) quarterback Mike Burton.

The Downtown Wilkes-Barre Touchdown Club was founded in 1991 to promote and recognize the student-athletes and coaches of Division III football.  For more information on the Melberger Award, please visit www.melbergeraward.org.

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