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Somerset, NJ --
The Northeast Conference (NEC) has named Wagner football player Steve Ciocci (Royersford, PA/Spring-Ford)
as the recipient of its Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Student-Athlete of the Year award. An offensive lineman, Ciocci became the 11th NEC student-athlete to earn the honor, which recognizes individual excellence in both the academic and athletic realms as well as leadership and contributions to one’s community.
The honor is merely the latest in a series of accolades for the first team All-NEC performer, who helped lead Wagner to its first-ever NEC championship and win over Colgate in the first round of the NCAA FCS playoffs.
"I’m marveled by Steve Ciocci’s incredible accomplishments as a student-athlete at Wagner College," said Noreen Morris, NEC Commissioner. "Not only did he achieve NEC All-First Team accolades on the football field, but he earned the highest recognition for his academic and community service efforts by being named to the Wagner Dean’s List and the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. Steve is a tremendous representative of the NEC and I’m proud to recognize him as the 2012-13 NEC SAAC Student-Athlete of the Year!"
In the classroom Ciocci graduated in May, 2012 with a degree in Business Administration, and is now pursuing his MBA at Wagner. He compiled a 3.53 grade point average as an undergraduate and maintains a 3.85 GPA in his graduate studies. Ciocci was a three-time member of the NEC Academic Honor Roll, and in 2012 was named to the exclusive NEC Commissioner’s Honor Roll (3.75 or better GPA). Last fall he was tabbed to the FCS Athletic Directors Association Academic All-Star team, one of just 54 players nationwide to earn the honor.
On the field, the 6’4”, 290 lb. right tackle started 25 consecutive games to close out his career and earned his first All-NEC nod last fall by opening holes for All-NEC running back Dominique Williams and providing protection for All-NEC quarterback Nick Doscher. The Seahawks, who finished 9-4 in a landmark season for the program, became the first NEC program to win an FCS playoff game and ranked 21st in the nation in the final Sports Network FCS poll. At year’s end, Ciocci was invited to participate in the FCS Senior Scout Bowl and Pro Grass International Scout Bowl.
In September, Ciocci was among an elite group of 22 players from throughout the country named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for the many community service programs in which he participated in, including several that he initiated. Along with his fellow Good Works Team members, Ciocci was honored at midfield during halftime of the January 3 Sugar Bowl game between Louisville and Florida at the Superdome.
Ciocci, who served as Vice President of the Wagner SAAC, received the 2013 Wagner College Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Agent of Change Award for spearheading a host of community service events during the 2012-13 academic year. Most notably, he organized and procured transportation for over 100 student-athletes to participate in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts throughout Staten Island.
Ciocci served as Captain and chief fundraiser for the Wagner Bone Marrow Drive and Wagner Relay for Life events, and helped organize Operation Christmas Child, a group that buys Christmas gifts for those around the world who are less fortunate. He functioned as the liaison between Wagner athletics and the pediatrics ward at the Staten Island University Hospital, organizing visits for various teams and raising funds for holiday gift giving. Additionally, Ciocci assisted the local Habitat for Humanity group on campus with fundraising and raising awareness.
The Royersford, PA native took on additional leadership duties as the Vice President/Director of Community Relations and Community Service for the Wagner Football Leadership Council. He also functioned as the Captain of Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Wagner.
“Steve Ciocci has simply done it all here at Wagner and we are extremely proud that the NEC is recognizing him with this prestigious honor,” said Walt Hameline, Wagner Director of Athletics and head football coach. “In more than three decades here as head coach, I’m not sure I can think of another student-athlete who has made such a big impact in so many different areas than Steve has. He’s represented Wagner with honor in everything he set after - Dean’s List student, three-year starter, first-team All-League player on a conference championship team, and an incredible leader on campus, on the field, in the locker room, and in the community. He is Wagner’s first-ever member of the AFCA Good Works Team and was recipient of an important civic engagement award given out by the college last year. What else can you say? As intelligent, caring and humble a person as you’ll ever meet, Steve does it all in a somewhat understated way - yet, he does it all. He’s incredible and I salute him.”
Weighing one’s leadership ability, athletic prowess, academic achievement and community service, the NEC SAAC members select the annual recipient of the award. The NEC began honoring a SAAC Student Athlete of the Year in 2003 when CCSU’s Sabrina Mariani claimed the inaugural honor.
Northeast Conference SAAC Student-Athlete of the Year Award Winners
2012-13 Steve Cioicci, Wagner
2011-12 Julia Prantl, Fairleigh Dickinson
2010-11 Katherine Bossardet, CCSU
2009-10 Kundayi Mawema, Bryant
2008-09 Alexandra Tomlinson, Wagner
2007-08 Tiffany Hahn, Monmouth
2006-07 Erika Jacobs, Saint Francis U
2005-06 Joy Gallagher, Wagner
2004-05 Beth Swink, Saint Francis U
2003-04 Naomi Campano, Mount St. Mary’s
2002-03 Sabrina Mariani, CCSU
About The Northeast Conference
Now in its 32nd year, the Northeast Conference is an NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 12 institutions of higher learning located throughout six states. Media coverage of the NEC extends to four of the largest markets in the United States - New York (#1), Pittsburgh (#23), Baltimore (#27), and Hartford/New Haven (#30). Founded in 1981 as the basketball-only ECAC Metro Conference, the NEC has grown to sponsor 23 championship sports for men and women and now enjoys automatic or play-in access to 14 different NCAA Championships. NEC member institutions include Bryant, Central Connecticut State, Fairleigh Dickinson, LIU Brooklyn, Monmouth, Mount St. Mary’s, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis Brooklyn, Saint Francis U and Wagner. For more information on the NEC, visit the league’s official website (www.northeastconference.org) and digital network (www.necfrontrow.com), or follow the league on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube @NECsports.