November 26, 2010

 Article courtesy of University of Manitoba, 2010

 The Manitoba Bisons football team has been awarded with one of the five CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) football player awards for the 2010 season. Bison third year linebacker Thomas Hall was selected as the recipient of the 2010 CIS Football Russ Jackson Award. This is the second consecutive season that Hall has earned this prestigious national award and only the fourth player to win in back-to-back seasons.

The Russ Jackson Award is presented to the CIS football player who best exemplifies the attributes of academic achievement, football skill and citizenship. It is named in honour of CFL Hall of Famer/Ottawa Rough Rider and McMaster University Quarterback, Russ Jackson.

Hall, 20, has had another amazing all-encompassing season with the Manitoba Bisons on and off the field. His nomination is highlighted by numerous endeavours that Hall has performed in the academic, community and athletic fields.

The Winnipeg native is in his fourth year in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management and earned his second consecutive CIS Academic All-Canadian status in his second year of academic eligibility with a GPA of 4.14.

In addition, Hall was selected as a CIS Desjardins Top 8 Academic All-Canadian for the 2009-10 season. This season, he has continued to impress. The Winnipeg native is the Director of Project Echo (a not-for-profit organization) that he co-founded in the summer of 2010. Project Echo has a sole goal to make Winnipeg a better place and they have already had three initiative in the fall of 2010 as they raised money for Winnipeg city libraries, sponsored a home in Namibia, Africa to provide for ten orphan children and raised money for breast cancer. A major project for the holiday season is called Sam’s Christmas, as Project Echo will provide 20 families with hot Christmas dinners, new coats, new bedding, dry goods hampers, computers, toques and mitts. This year, Hall was also elected as the chair of the University of Manitoba Athlete’s Council (UMAC), received the University of Manitoba Student’s Union Scholarship based on academic record and was the Bison Sports Male Student-Athlete Leadership and Community Development Award winner for the second year in a row.

In addition, he has coached Bison football youth camps and a ten-year-old flag football team in the spring season. Hall stated, “The Russ Jackson Award epitomizes the three pillars of achievement that are important to student athletes in the CIS. I am surprised and humbled to be recognized again with this national award and believe in contributions back to the community while a student-athlete is vitally important. It was also exciting to meet with the nominees from the other three conferences who have also done incredible activities in their respective communities this season.”

As a Manitoba Bisons student-athlete, Hall has been heavily involved over the last three seasons with “Bison Against Bullying” and starts his second season as the co-chair of the program. This program is designed to have Bison athletes attend elementary schools throughout Winnipeg to present to children and speak about bullying and preventative solutions to this problem. He has coordinated recruitment and training sessions and has grown the program to have over 60 Bison student-athletes involved, with a goal to present to another record number of schools this season. Hall has also been the football representative on UMAC council over the last three seasons. Hall has continued to volunteer his time at the Siloam Mission, which is a food shelter for the city’s homeless and disadvantaged people, over the past three seasons during the holiday season. Plus, he was instrumental in creating a new annual event called “The Challenge for Life” for CancerCare Manitoba that has increased awareness for all cancers while raising over $3 million to date after only three years ($1 million was raised in 2010). Hall served as the honourary chair during the inaugural Cancer Care Manitoba’s Challenge for Life Campaign plus also still fundraises and participates in the event every year. On the football field, Hall had an even larger presence in his second full season as a starter at the linebacker position. The 6’3”, 223 lbs. linebacker was named a captain for the first time. He led the team and was fourth in the Canada West conference with 42.5 total tackles (33 solo) during the 2010 season. Hall also had 4.5 tackles for losses, tied for 13th best in conference, plus added two sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery this season. Bison Football Head Coach Brian Dobie exclaimed, “Thomas continues to be a person who does great things on and off the field. He stepped up on the field as a new team captain this season and his leadership in the community is shown with new involvement such as Project Echo along with his many areas he has already assisted now and in the future. I am very proud of Thomas as a Bison student-athlete and believe he is once again a deserving winner of the Russ Jackson award.” From the AUS, St. Francis Xavier slotback and education student-athlete Kwame Osei; from the QUFL, Montreal guard and administration student-athlete Guillaume Saliah and from the OUA, Wilfrid Laurier receiver & kick returner, plus business student-athlete Dillon Heap were also nominated for the 2010 Russ Jackson award.

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