The record-breaking 2017 football season was filled with honors and accolades for W&J.
It began before the season even started with the Presidents ranked in the preseason national polls and wide receiver Jesse Zubik ’18 named a Preseason All-American. W&J was named the Best College Football Team—regardless of Division—in Pennsylvania, the state with the most college football teams in the nation.
The Presidents marched through their regular season, finishing undefeated for the 13th time in program history. With that undefeated season came a Presidents’ Athletic Conference title, W&J’s record 25th PAC title. They also made their 25th appearance in the NCAA Division III Football Championships playoff, the second-most championship appearances all-time by a Division III school.
For the first time since 2004, W&J hosted a pair of playoff games at Cameron Stadium. The 31-28 win over No. 19 Johns Hopkins in the first round on Nov. 18, 2017, saw kicker Mauricio Garibay ’21 boot a 46-yard field goal with less than one minute to play as W&J prevailed. It gave W&J 11 wins on the season for just the seventh time in the storied history of the program.
Following the season, individual honors poured in for the team. Zubik was a unanimous First Team All-American and both the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III and D3football.com South Region Offensive Player of the Year. Cornerback O’Shea Anderson ’18 joined Zubik on the Associated Press and D3football.com All-America teams. Five Presidents claimed All-ECAC honors and six were recognized by D3football on the all-region squad after 15 made the All-PAC teams.
Head Coach Mike Sirianni received recognition as well, earning PAC and ECAC Division III Coach of the Year honors. He was also named a finalist for the American Football Coaches Association National Coach of the Year after being the organization’s Region 2 winner. Sirianni, now in his 15th year of leading the Presidents, passed legendary W&J Head Coach John Luckhardt atop the career wins list in the regular season finale when W&J routed Waynesburg, 44-0.
Even after the conclusion of a memorable 2017 season, one final award was bestowed upon the team as W&J was picked as the ECAC’s Division III Team of the Year.