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Zweifel Wins 2011-12 IIAC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year

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Posted Jan 3, 2013

Michael Zweifel: IIAC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) announced today that former University of Dubuque football player Michael Zweifel (Whitewater, Wis. / Whitewater) has been named the Duane Schroeder IIAC Male Scholar Athlete of the Year for the 2011-2012 academic year. 

"Exceptional student-athletes make the Iowa Conference exceptional," said Iowa Conference Commissioner Chuck Yrigoyen. "Once again, we had an incredible list of candidates for our conference's most prestigious honor. Luther's Kelsey (Kittleson) Millonig and Dubuque's Michael Zweifel earned the vote of our Faculty Athletics Representatives after careers that saw them shine not just within the league and regionally, but nationally as well. It's hard to imagine a duo from the same league with the kind of impact Kelsey and Michael had, and we are in awe of their accomplishments." 

Zweifel graduated Summa Cum Laude in December 2011 with a 3.90 grade point average as a health, wellness and recreation major after transferring from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls following the 2008-2009 academic year. He was named a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete as one of 16 finalists (and the only one from Division III) for the William V. Campbell Trophy. The Campbell Trophy, often referred to as the "Academic Heisman Award," is awarded to the player with the best combination of academics, community service and on-field performance. Zweifel was also a finalist for the AFCA Good Works Team, a member of the NFF Hampshire Society, and was the 2011 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year for Division III football. During the 2012 football season, Zweifel served as an offensive assistant at the University of Dubuque, coaching wide receivers. In February, he will travel to Austria to play internationally with Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna of the Austrian Football League before turning his attention to graduate school in the fall where he will pursue a masters degree in kinesiology.

"Despite all of these awards and accolades Michael has remained a very quiet, unassuming, non-presumptuous, and humbly gracious, young man," University of Dubuque Adjunct Professor of History and Political Science Dennis Yergler said. "Michael has devoted his entire life to the pursuit of excellence, both on and off the field. Yet Michael's greatest excellence has been his recognition that one must share one's talents and abilities, and one's self, with those around. Michael fully appreciates that one's life must be shared with others." 

"Although Michael's athletic accomplishments can best be described as phenomenal and his scholarly achievements as exemplary, his best quality may be his character as evidenced by the leadership he consistently displayed off the field and outside the classroom," added University of Dubuque Vice President and Dean of Student Life Michael Miyamoto. 

Twice voted a team captain, Zweifel served as president of Dubuque's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and represented UD and the Iowa Conference at an NCAA student leadership conference. He also volunteered his time visiting local elementary schools to speak to at-risk youth about the importance of staying in school, helped organize the University of Dubuque athletics park clean-a-thon at Flora Park, assisted in the organization of Special Olympics events on the UD campus, was lead facilitator of a Kids Athletic Day for children in the greater Dubuque community, chaired the UD Senior Gift Day committee, and held an autograph session with the Gagliardi Award as a fundraiser for the Dubuque community. In his hometown of Whitewater, Wis., Zweifel served as a lead coach at a Whitewater Youth Football League Camp for grades 4-8, addressed the Whitewater Youth Football League about the importance of academic as well as athletic success and served as an instructor for basketball camps in the local elementary schools. 

"Through his unparalleled perseverance and an eminent work ethic, Michael became the catalyst for his team winning its first conference championship in 31 years," said Stan Zweifel, University of Dubuque Head Football Coach and Michael's father. "As he led by example, Michael demanded excellence out of his teammates off the field. His model behaviors in the classroom, around campus, and in the weight room were beyond compare. In his free time and by his own convictions he worked track meets, supported all other sports on campus, and was actively involved in community service." 

Zweifel added, "If I step into the parent role, as a parent of four children who have all excelled academically, we have always demanded they be students first and athletes second. It's not always easy playing for a parent, he never once complained or showed up late to practice or a team meeting. I have coached many athletes deserving of many honors, but am so proud to know one of my own kids displays all the characteristics you try to instill in your team as a head coach. He has led quietly by example."

Zweifel was a two-time D3football.com All-America selection (second team-2009, first team-2011), a two-time AP Little All-American (third team-2009, second team-2011) and 2011 AFCA Division III All-American who rewrote the IIAC and UD record books for wide receivers in just two-plus seasons as a Spartan. He was awarded the Gagliardi Trophy in 2011, presented to the most outstanding football player in Division III. This after a career that saw him set an NCAA all-divisions record with 463 career receptions and a Division III single-season mark with 140 catches in 2011. Zweifel also ranks second in career receiving yards across all divisions with 5,979. The 2011 Iowa Conference Offensive MVP, he graduated holding Iowa Conference records for receptions in a single game (20 vs. Simpson in 2009; subsequently broken), receiving yards in a single game (330 vs. Simpson in 2009), receptions in a season (105 in 2011) and receiving yards in a season (1,444 in 2011). 

In addition to his exploits on the gridiron, Zweifel was a 2010-11 Spartan Achievement Award winner as well as a Presidents Academic Student-Athlete Award winner. He also served as president of Dubuque's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Zweifel was also twice named most valuable player on the Spartan football team and was also the recipient of the team's most inspirational player award. 

Also nominated for the 2011-2012 Duane Schroeder IIAC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year were former Coe College baseball player Scott DeAngelis (Clinton, Iowa / Clinton), former Loras College cross country and track & field athlete Dan McDermott (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / Xavier), former Luther College tennis player Scott Sundstrom (Lino Lakes, Minn. / Minnetonka) and former Wartburg College football player Robby Salmon (Mason City, Iowa / Mason City). 

About the Duane Schroeder IIAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award 
The Duane Schroeder IIAC Scholar Athlete of the Year Awards were first presented in December 2001 for the 2000-01 academic year. To be eligible for nomination, a student-athlete shall have graduated or exhausted their athletic eligibility during the academic year for which the award is given. He must have demonstrated a high level of accomplishment and achievement in a varsity sport, have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale), and show evidence of scholarly achievements, community service involvement and leadership. 

Previous recipients of the Duane Schroeder IIAC Male Scholar Athlete of the Year include Tim Vinyard (2000-01, Coe College football and baseball), Dale Biser (2001-02, Cornell College football and track & field), Jesse Harris(2002-03, Simpson College basketball), Brent Showalter(2003-04, Wartburg College track & field), Garrett South (2004-05, Luther College wrestling), Adam Duerfeldt (2005-06, Central College baseball), Adam Bohach (2006-07, Luther College cross country and track & field), Kyle Duchman (2007-08, Wartburg College football), Alec Bonander (2008-09, Luther College wrestling), Tyler Burkle (2009-10, Coe College wrestling) and Ryan Schisler (2010-11, Coe College baseball). 

About Duane Schroeder 
The Duane Schroeder IIAC Scholar Athlete of the Year Awards are named in honor of the late Duane Schroeder, the former Wartburg College sports information director. Schroeder served as Wartburg's SID for 43 years until his retirement in 2000. Upon his retirement from his sports information duties, he was named SID Emeritus and served as Wartburg's News Director until 2001. During much of his four decades at Wartburg, Schroeder served as the IIAC's secretary and treasurer.

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