For guiding his team to an undefeated regular season and a share of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship, Ashland University head football coach Lee Owens is the 2015 GLIAC Football Co-Coach of the Year.
Owens led the Eagles to a 10-0 regular-season record, including three home wins against nationally-ranked teams, and their fourth NCAA Division II postseason appearance in his 12 seasons on Saturday (Nov. 21) at noon against Grand Valley State at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field.
He also has led AU to its highest-ever ranking of No. 3 in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II Top 25 poll.
This is the third time Owens has received GLIAC Coach of the Year honors (2005, 2012). He is 89-41 (.685) at Ashland with a pair of GLIAC titles to his credit.
Sharing the Coach of the Year honor with Owens is Ferris State's Tony Annese, whose Bulldogs also earned a share of the GLIAC title and are 10-0 heading into the postseason.
Seven Eagles earned first-team All-GLIAC honors – junior tailback Vance Settlemire, sophomore tight end Adam Shaheen, junior right guard Zachary Douglass, senior defensive end Chase Hoobler, senior rover Donzale Ashley, junior inside linebacker Brandon Gency and junior punter Austin Bruns.
- Settlemire has rushed for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns and caught 27 passes for 311 yards and four TDs.
- Shaheen leads all NCAA tight ends at all levels in receptions with 62, and has 709 receiving yards and 10 touchdown grabs.
- Douglass graded out at 91 percent and had 78 takedowns during the regular season.
- Hoobler has 37 total tackles, a sack, five tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and an interception.
- Ashley is tied for the team lead in interceptions with three, and has 49 total tackles (28 solo).
- Gency is the Eagles' tackle leader with 90 total (50 solo), and has 1½ sacks, eight tackles for loss and an interception.
- Bruns would lead the GLIAC in gross punting average with enough attempts, averaging 45.5 yards per boot.
A pair of Eagles – junior nose tackle Brandon Ehlinger and junior free safety Terrell Hudson – earned second-team All-GLIAC honors. Ehlinger has 17 total tackles, 2½ sacks and 6½ tackles for loss, while Hudson is third on the team in total tackles with 58 (30 solo) to go with four tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and an interception.
Ashland has six honorable mention selections – sophomore quarterback Travis Tarnowski (2,845 yards, 27 touchdowns passing), senior left guard Jonathan Cipa (four-year starter), junior stud Adam Wallace (38 total tackles, one sack, 3 1/2 tackles for loss), junior inside linebacker Zach Olszewski (78 total tackles, team-high nine tackles for loss), sophomore cornerback/return specialist Dale Irby (nine pass breakups, three interceptions, 26.7-yard kickoff-return average) and redshirt freshman right tackle John Conner.
In addition to Coach of the Year, the 2015 GLIAC special awards went to Ferris State quarterback Jason Vander Laan (Player of the Year), Tiffin quarterback Antonio Pipkin (Offensive Back of the Year), Findlay offensive lineman Chris Reaper (Offensive Lineman of the Year), Grand Valley State defensive end Matt Judon (Defensive Lineman of the Year), Ohio Dominican defensive back Brad McCurdy (Defensive Back of the Year), Hillsdale running back Joe Reverman (Freshman of the Year) and Northwood's Jake Riepma (McAvoy Award).