EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Gallaudet University freshman Tom Pangia (Hammonton, N.J.) experienced a unique evening on Thursday in the Pegasus Restaurant at the Meadowlands Sports Complex, as he was one of the honorees present for the annual Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Football Awards Banquet. Pangia was present to accept his 2009 ECAC Division III Northeast Region Rookie of the Year award. He shared the stage with great football players and programs from the East Coast including Penn State University, University of Pittsburgh, Villanova University and from the Division III level Wesley College.
"This is a team award that would not have been possible without all of my teammates' support and hard work," said Pangia about his ECAC award. "This award is really about Gallaudet University football and the direction our program is moving in."
Pangia attended the evening with his mother (Kelly) along with GU football coach Chuck Goldstein and assistant head coach and defensive coordinator John Davis.
"It was a special night and event to be in attendance alongside other honorees from all NCAA divisions. To see Tom accept an award of this magnitude in front of his peers is great for him and Gallaudet University," said Goldstein.
This is Pangia's second Rookie of the Year honor as he shared the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) award and was named to the all-conference first team defense. The freshman linebacker was tied for the most tackles by a freshman in the ECFC with 66. He finished the year ranked ninth for tackles for loss (0.70 per game) for 15 yards. In the month of November he made four tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss of three yards in a thrilling 16-13 victory over SUNY Maritime to give GU a 6-4 record for the season. The winning record against a varsity schedule is the first in program history since 1930. The game before Pangia made a team-high eight tackles against Anna Maria on Halloween as the Bison won 56-7. GU was rated as the top defense in the ECFC.
Pangia becomes the first Bison to earn ECAC All-Star honors since the program returned to NCAA Division III status in 2007.