NORTHBROOK, Ill. – University of New Hampshire junior football player Chris Zarkoskie (West Caldwell, N.J.) has been nominated for the 2011 Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team®, it was announced by Allstate Insurance Company and AFCA on Tuesday.
The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® recognizes the selfless contributions to volunteerism and community service made by college football student-athletes across the nation.
Zarkoskie, who started all 13 games at center for the Wildcats last season, volunteers his time to welcome members of the U.S. Armed Forces back from service overseas and to bid them well upon deployment as a member of the "Pease Greeters" at Portsmouth International Airport at Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth, N.H. He received the 2010-11 CAA Commissioner's Academic Award and was named to the 2010 CAA Academic All-Conference Team.
Away from campus during semester breaks, the 6-foot-1, 297-pound psychology major has volunteered at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J., distributing the Eucharist since his senior year of high school. Zarkoskie was a retreat leader during his high school career and was deeply involved in Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing organization that builds simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need. He was feted with the Most Representative Setonian award at Seton Hall Preparatory School as the graduating senior who best represented the idealized graduate by demonstrating academic and athletic success while being community oriented, caring and dedicated to self-sacrifice.
This year marks the program's 20th year honoring college football players at all levels of competition who stand out for their "good works" in the community. Since 1992, selection to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® has become the gold standard for off-the-field character and leadership for college football players. The honor is widely considered the sport's pre-eminent community service award.
"This program has grown dramatically throughout the years due to the volunteerism and commitment of these great student-athletes to their communities," said Mark LaNeve, Allstate Executive Vice President, Marketing & Sales Operations, who also serves on the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® voting panel. "To be associated with an award that reflects so positively on college football is an inspiration for Allstate, our employees and our agents, especially as the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® celebrates its 20th year."
While it is often college football players' on-field exploits that receive the most attention from fans and media, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® award shines a spotlight on student-athletes' efforts away from the playing field by sharing their stories of serving others.
"The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team is one of the most important awards in college football because it highlights some of the best and brightest student-athletes in the country," said Grant Teaff, AFCA Executive Director. "With this being the 20th year of this outstanding award, it's great to see a record number of nominees sent in from some of the leading football programs in the nation. The AFCA is proud to share in this anniversary year with our partners at Allstate."
From the nominees submitted by sports information directors across the nation on behalf of their schools, a special voting panel consisting of former Good Works Team® members and prominent college football media members will select two 11-player Good Works Teams® – one comprising of players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and another representing players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III, and the NAIA. The 22 student-athletes named to the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® will be announced in late September.
After a successful first-year partnership with ESPN.com, Allstate and the AFCA will re-launch its customized Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® website featuring profiles and images of the final team members, as well as an opportunity for fans to vote for the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® Captain.
The 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® voting panel includes: former Good Works Team® members Alex Van Pelt (Pittsburgh, 1992 team), Zaid Abdul-Aleem (Duke, 1994 team), Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia, 1997, 1998 teams), Grant Irons (Notre Dame, 1999 team), Brian Brenberg (St. Thomas, 2001 team), Mike Proman (Amherst, 2002 team); media members Lou Holtz (ESPN), Rece Davis (ESPN), Tom O'Toole (USA Today), Gary Shelton (St. Petersburg Times), Blair Kerkhoff (Kansas City Star); current AFCA President and Montana State University Head Coach Rob Ash; 1987 AFCA President LaVell Edwards, former head coach at Brigham Young University; and Allstate Executive Vice President, Marketing & Sales Operations, Mark LaNeve.
In order to meet the criteria set forth by Allstate and the AFCA, each player must be actively involved and committed to working with a charitable organization, service group or community service while maintaining good academic standing.
UNH season tickets and individual game tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.