Sulages Named D3football.com West Region Coach of the Year; Evans and Baltazar Also Honored
D3football.com - Head football coach Chris Sulages was named the D3football.com West Region Coach of the Year for his working in the Lewis & Clark football teams record breaking season. Senior Shawn Evans was named to the D3football.com All-West Region First-Team, while Louis Baltazar earned a spot on the Third-Team.
Since taking over the program in 2005, Sulages has helped turn the Pioneers into a winning program. Over the last four years the Pioneers have doubled their wins each season. The 2011 Pioneers finished the fall with their first winning season since 1962, concluding with a 7-2 overall record and 4-2 Northwest Conference standing.
Under Sulages, the team earned its first ever West Regional ranking, earning a spot as the 10th best team out west at one point during the season. The Pioneers had never been recognized regionally since their transition to NCAA Division III in 1999 from being a part of the NAIA.
Evans, a 6-3 tight end, finished the season with a spot on the NWC Offensive First-Team after ending the season sixth in the conference in receiving yards per game and eighth in touchdown receptions. Evans, a D3football.com preseason All-American, finished the season ranked 48th in the nation in receptions per game. The senior from Boring, Ore., was also one of a handful of players to earn a spot in the coveted D3 Senior Classic held in Salem, Va., on Dec. 9. The 2011 game will be broadcast live, nationally on Fox College Sports as well as webcast and archived at www.knoxivi.com/d3classic.
The Pioneers leader on defense, Baltazar picked up a spot on the NWC All-Conference First-Team prior to his West Region Third-Team honor. Baltazar ranked second in sacks in the conference, while ranking third in tackles per game. Nationally, he finished the season third in tackles for a loss and 14th in sacks.
Players were nominated for these awards by the Sports Information Directors at the various schools, who were contacted multiple times as the season wound down to remind them to make their players eligible. A record 878 players were nominated nationwide. All-Region teams were selected in balloting by sports information directors in each region and D3football.com staff.
All players nominated for All-Region are eligible to be considered for the D3football.com All-America Team.