Cummins named top coach, Heap claims Russ Jackson award

Cummins named top coach, Heap claims Russ Jackson award

Photo credit Richard Lam

VANCOUVER (CIS) – Acadia’s Jeff Cummins was named the coach of the year in Canadian Interuniversity Sport football on Friday morning, while Wilfrid Laurier’s Dillon Heap received the Russ Jackson award recognizing excellence in football, academics and citizenship.

Cummins and Heap were honoured in front of over 700 guests during the Vanier Cup championship breakfast at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

The 47th Vanier Cup final between Laval and McMaster is set for 6 p.m. Pacific Time at B.C. Place Stadium, live on TSN and RDS. The pre-game show kicks off at 5:30 p.m. PST on TSN.

FRANK TINDALL TROPHY – Jeff Cummins (Acadia)

Cummins became only the second Acadia sideline boss to claim the Frank Tindall trophy. He follows in the footsteps of John Huard, who was honoured by his CIS peers in 1981.

In his ninth season at the helm, the native of Torrance, California, guided his troops to a first-place finish in the AUS conference with a 7-1 record, marking a three-win improvement from a year ago and the team’s best campaign since 1986 (7-0). It was also the program’s first winning season since 2006. Acadia went on to defeat archrival Saint Mary’s 39-20 in the Loney Bowl final to capture its first league championship in five years.

In addition to his head coaching duties, Cummins, who was previously named AUS coach of the year in 2004 and 2005, switched back to the offensive side of the ball this season and took charge of the offensive line. To say the move paid off would be an understatement as the Axemen scored 282 points in eight games, more than doubling their tally from 2010 (134).

Following a playing career with the University of Oregon Ducks, Cummins coached for 11 years in the professional ranks including stints in the NFL, CFL, AFL and XFL. Since he took over as Acadia’s bench boss, he has compiled a career record of 36 wins and 36 losses in conference play, along with a 6-7 playoff mark.

“There is no one more deserving of this national recognition than Jeff Cummins,” said Acadia director of athletics Kevin Dickie. “Jeff is not only passionate about the game of football but also about Acadia Athletics. He continues to champion the history and tradition of his own program, while supporting all of our other varsity teams. He is not only focused on the development of his student-athletes on the field, but also in the classroom and in our community. As a senior coach in our department, Jeff has been invaluable to me as the AD at Acadia. We are extremely proud of Jeff and our team’s 2011 season.”

Sherbrooke’s André Bolduc, Windsor’s Joe D’Amore and UBC’s Shawn Olson were the other finalists for the Frank Tindall trophy.

RUSS JACKSON AWARD – Dillon Heap (Wilfrid Laurier)

Heap is the second Laurier player to win the prestigious Russ Jackson award, after Josh Alexander in 2001.

On the field, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior was the Golden Hawks’ leading receiver and kick returner in his fifth and final university campaign, racking up 40 catches for 625 yards in eight league games as well as 458 yards on 40 punt returns and 121 yards on six kickoff returns en route to second-team all-Canadian status. Over the course of the season, he became only the third player in CIS history to reach the 2000-yard career mark in punt returns (2,113).

Heap was also one of the Hawks’ top performers in the classroom, holding a cumulative grade point average of 10.07 during his time at Laurier in the school’s business program. Last year, the native of Waterloo was honoured with Laurier’s Luke Fuscop Academic Athletic Achievement Award for the second consecutive year as the university’s top academic male athlete. He was also selected as a CIS Top Eight Academic All-Canadian for 2010-11.

Heap does extensive work within the community of Waterloo and completed a two-year mission in Concepcion, Chile, in 2007. He serves as the executive secretary for President James A. McBride of the Kitchener Ontario Stake, teaches Sunday school at the branch, and is the president of the Latter-Day Saints Association at Wilfrid Laurier. As president, he acts as the liaison between the university and the Kitchener Ontario Institute of Religion in order to hold weekend classes on campus. Before this, he also served as the president of Elders Quorum in the Kitchener 3rd Young Single Adult Branch, leading 20 peers for a year.

“Dillon is one of the best athletes ever in our program. He was named to Laurier’s All-Century team while he was still a member of the football program,” said Hawks’ head coach Gary Jeffries. “However, what sets him apart from many great athletes is the fact that he is an ‘A’ student who has mentored fellow student-athletes and is a true leader in the community and at his church.”

Acadia’s Andrew Frazer, McGill’s Austin Anderson and Regina’s Brett Jones were also nominated for the Russ Jackson award.

2011 FRANK TINDALL TROPHY NOMINEES (coach of the year)
AUS: Jeff Cummins, Acadia (recipient)
RSEQ: André Bolduc, Sherbrooke
OUA: Joe D’Amore, Windsor
CWUAA: Shawn Olson, UBC

2011 RUSS JACKSON AWARD NOMINEES (outstanding student-athlete & citizenship)
AUS: Andrew Frazer, defensive lineman, recreation management, Acadia
RSEQ: Austin Anderson, kicker, management, McGill
OUA: Dillon Heap, inside receiver, business, Wilfrid Laurier (recipient)
CWUAA: Brett Jones, offensive lineman, science, Regina


2011 Jeff Cummins, Acadia
2010 Glen Constantin, Laval
2009 Steve Sumarah, Saint Mary’s
2008 Pat Sheahan, Queen’s
2007 Frank McCrystal, Regina
2006 Denis Piché, Ottawa
2005 Glen Constantin, Laval
2004 Jerry Friesen, Alberta
2003 Gary Jeffries, Wilfrid Laurier
2002 Chuck McMann, McGill
2001 Brian Dobie, Manitoba
2000 Greg Marshall, McMaster
1999 Blake Nill, Saint Mary's
1998 Larry Haylor, Western
1997 John Stevens, StFX
1996 Dan McNally, Guelph
1995 Rick Zmich, Wilfrid Laurier
1994 Brian Towriss, Saskatchewan
1993 Larry Uteck, Saint Mary's
1992 Ian Breck, Bishop's
1991 Rich Newbrough, Wilfrid Laurier
1990 Larry Haylor, Western
1989 Dave Knight, Waterloo
1988 Larry Uteck, Saint Mary's
1987 Frank Smith, UBC
1986 Bruce Coulter, Bishop's
1985 Peter Connellan, Calgary
1984 Steve Bruno, Mount Allison
1983 Doug Hargreaves, Queen's
1982 Bernie Custis, McMaster
1981 John Huard, Acadia
1980 Cam Innes, Ottawa
1979 Dave "Tuffy" Knight, Wilfrid Laurier
1978 Frank Smith, UBC
1977 Peter Connellan, Calgary
1976 Darwin Semotiuk, Western
1975 Don Gilbert, Ottawa
1974 Ron Murphy, Toronto
1973 Ed Hilton, UPEI
1972 Dave "Tuffy" Knight, Wilfrid Laurier
1971 Jim Donlevy, Alberta
1970 Frank Cosentino, Western
1969 Henry Janzen, Manitoba

ALL-TIME RUSS JACKSON AWARD WINNERS (outstanding student-athlete & citizenship)

2011 Dillon Heap, Wilfrid Laurier
2010 Thomas Hall, Manitoba
2009 Thomas Hall, Manitoba
2008 David Hamilton, Toronto
2007 Clovis Langlois-Boucher, Sherbrooke
2006 Naim El-Far, Ottawa
2005 Dan Parker, Mount Allison
2004 Nathan Beveridge, UBC
2003 Curt McLellan, Queen's
2002 Lincoln Blumell, Calgary
2001 Josh Alexander, Wilfrid Laurier
2000 Carlo Panaro, Alberta
1999 Carlo Panaro, Alberta
1998 Jean-Philippe Darche, McGill
1997 Sam Stetsko, Alberta
1996 Sean O'Neill, Carleton
1995 Ted MacLean, Saint Mary's
1994 Steve Papp, McGill
1993 David Sykes, Saint Mary's
1992 David Sykes, Saint Mary's
1991 J.P. Veri, McGill
1990 J.P. Veri, McGill
1989 Jock Climie, Queen's
1988 Andrew Allison, Mount Allison
1987 Elio Geremia, Calgary
1986 Charlie Galunic, Queen's