LANCASTER, PA - The Franklin & Marshall College Football Association has announced the creation of a new Division III football award, the Tom Gilburg Division III Punter of the Year Award, which will go to the top small college punter in the nation each year.
The award will be presented to the consensus All-America punter compiled from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), D3football.com, Associated Press "Little All-America" and Don Hansen's Football Gazette All-America teams each season.
Like the Division I Ray Guy Award, which honors the best punter at a major university, the Gilburg Award will honor the punter as a team player and a vital part of winning. In addition, a "watch list" of possible candidates will be determined late each summer and narrowed down throughout the season until a recipient is chosen in late December.
The head football coach at Franklin & Marshall College from 1975-2002, Gilburg was a standout punter first at Syracuse University and later in the National Football League with the Baltimore Colts. A native of Chappaqua, New York, he compiled a 160-112-2 record in football over 28 seasons on the sidelines at F&M, the most wins by a coach in the program's history.
Born in Bronxville, New York, at an early age Gilburg moved to Chappaqua where he grew up.
He attended Horace Greeley High School playing offensive and defensive end as well as doing the punting.
Following high school, Gilburg continued his education at Syracuse University on scholarship.
Under head coach Ben Schwartzwalder, Gilburg quickly advanced through freshmen football to make the second team at punter and end as a sophomore. Close to ensuring a first team job, a knee injury knocked him back down to the second team. In the 1959 Cotton Bowl, Syracuse defeated Texas 23-14 and was named unanimous AP and UPI National Champions.
A three-year letterwinner with the Orangemen, he was a blocking tight end and linebacker his sophomore and junior seasons, then moved to tackle and nose guard as a senior. While at tackle, he blocked for All-America running back Ernie Davis.
Prior to his senior season in 1960 an operation on his knee added 20 pounds to his weight. As a result, he was switched to inside tackle on offense and middle guard on defense while continuing to serve as the team's punter. Following the season, he was honored with the Bill Horr Award winner as the team's MVP and was selected to compete in the All-America Bowl and East-West Shrine Game. The 1961 Syracuse "Athlete of the Year" and a first team All-America selection as a senior, he played in the 1958 Orange Bowl (23-6 loss to Oklahoma) and was a standout lacrosse player for Syracuse during his four year collegiate career as he was selected for the 1961 North-South All-Star game.
Following Syracuse, he was selected in the second round of the 1961 National Football League Draft by the Baltimore Colts where he played five NFL seasons at offensive tackle and punter under coaches Weeb Eubank and Don Shula.
A highlight of Gilburg's professional career was playing in the 1964 NFL Championship game versus the Cleveland Browns.
Upon his retirement from the NFL, Gilburg turned down numerous job offers to fulfill become a coach.
From 1966-70 he served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach and assistant men's lacrosse coach at Hofstra. In 1971, he moved south to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he served as men's lacrosse coach and linebackers' coach before being named as the 37th head football coach in F&M history.
Highlights of Gilburg's 28-years at the forefront of the F&M gridiron include five Centennial Conference Championships (1986, 1987, 1988, 1993, 1995), two Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships (1987 & 1989), eight first team All-America selections and 11 Conference Most Valuable Player honors.
Gilburg is the first former Syracuse Orangeman and the second Division III head football coach to have an award named after him following St. John University's John Gagliardi. On the Division III level, the award is just the second national award recognizing excellence on the gridiron as the Gagliardi Award is presented to the top football student-athlete.
For more information on the award contact Franklin & Marshall Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications & External Affairs Ed Haas at Edward.firstname.lastname@example.org or (717) 291-3838.