WPI's Grupp to Receive Prestigious Nils V. "Swede" Nelson Award

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Boston, MA --- Gridiron Club of Greater Boston president Bob Norton has announced the major award recipients for the annual banquet to be held January 9 at Westin Waltham.  Among the recipients is WPI senior offensive tackle Tim Grupp (Highland, NY) who is the Division II/III winner of the Nils V. "Swede" Nelson Award for exceptional achievement in sportsmanship, academics, and athletics.  

Grupp will be honored with University of Massachusetts defensive back Devin Brown (Piedmont, CA) from the Bowl/Championship Division. 

The award is the fourth oldest collegiate football award in the United States, following the Heisman, Maxwell, and George "Bulger" Lowe trophies.  The award is named for the founder of the Gridiron Club, Nils V. "Swede" Nelson, a former college player at Harvard and coach. Nelson was a member of the unbeaten Harvard football team that defeated Oregon in the 1920 Rose Bowl. Other notable winners of the award include Doak Walker (1949), Johnny Bright (1951), Floyd Little (1966), Dick Jauron (1971), Otis Armstrong (1972), Tom Waddle (1988), Jay Fiedler (1992), and Matt Hasselbeck (1997). 

Grupp, a first team All-Liberty League performer and a Capital One/CoSIDA Division III Academic All-District I first team member, was a the left tackle and co-captain of this year year's squad.  The four-year starter was named the Robert Pritchard Award winner as the top lineman on Homecoming this past September and was also a nominee for the 2013 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award and William V. Campbell Trophy. 

Grupp recently received the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement, which recognizes him as the top Air Force ROTC cadet in the Northeast among those nominated for the award. Last spring, he received the Two Towers Prize, given annually to the top junior at WPI who best exemplifies a combined proficiency in the theoretical and practical union that is at the heart of the WPI educational tradition and he was a Rhodes scholar nominee. 

In the classroom Grupp boasts a 3.43 GPA as a management engineering major with a concentration in aerospace with a minor in vocal performance.  He is also the chaplain of Sigma Phi Espilon fraternity. 

In addition to the Swede Nelson award, the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston announced that Boston College running back Andre Williams (Schnecksville, PA) and Harvard defensive tackle Nnamdi Obukwelu (Brockton, MA) are recipients of the 75th annual George "Bulger" Lowe Award, "New England's Heisman Trophy" and one of America's oldest college football accolades. The Bulger Lowe Award recognizes the New England's best offensive and defensive players in the NCAA Bowl and Championship Divisions, formerly known as Divisions IA and IAA. 

Other honors conferred that evening by the Gridiron Club will be: 

•        The 18th annual Joe Zabilski Award, which recognizes New England's top players in Divisions II and III, goes to Merrimack College quarterback Joe Clancy (Newburyport, MA) and Framingham State running back Melikke Van Alstyne (Salem, MA), co-winners in the offensive category; and to Stonehill College linebacker Brian Harrington (Rockland, MA) in the defensive category. 

•        Head Coach of the Year awards to Jack Cosgrove of Maine in the Bowl/Championship Divisions and Chad Martinovich of MIT in Divisions II-III. 

•        Assistant Coach of the Year awards to Ryan Day, offensive coordinator at Boston College in the Bowl/Championship Divisions and Aynsley Rosenbaum, offensive and recruiting coordinator at Framingham State University, in Divisions II-III. 

•        The Joseph V. McKenney Award for top collegiate football official to East Boston resident Jim Kearney of the ECAC and the Colonial, Ivy, and Patriot League (CIP). 

•        The John Baronian Award for Lifetime Contribution to Football to Rich Cavanaugh, who is retiring after 29 seasons as head coach at Southern Connecticut State.   

Awards Banquet Information: Thursday, January 9, 2014 at Westin Waltham Hotel. Tickets are $50 each or $500 for a table of ten. Order online at www.gridclubofgreaterboston.com, or call club secretary Dick Lawrence at (781) 231-0372. Social hour 6:00 p.m., dinner at 7:00. 

About the Gridiron Club, "Keepers of the Flame": Founded in 1932, the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston (www.gridclubofgreaterboston.com) promotes the game of football at all levels and nurtures the ideals of citizenship, sportsmanship, leadership, and athletic and academic achievement. Through its annual dinners and golf tournament, the club carries on its tradition of honoring exemplary players, coaches and officials at all levels of the sport, and supporting worthy charitable causes, especially those that assist children.

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