Collin Zych with head coach Tim Murphy at the team's annual awards dinner (Dave Silverman).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Junior free safety Collin Zych was chosen as the winner of the Frederick Greeley Crocker Award as the most valuable player of the 2009 Harvard football team, as chosen by his teammates. Zych was also honored as the 137th captain of Harvard football for the 2010 season before the awards banquet, held at the Harvard Club of Boston, and announced by head coach Tim Murphy.
Also at the banquet, the other recipients of the 2009 team awards were announced.
Senior linebacker Sean Hayes was presented the Lamar Award for dedication; senior defensive tackle and outgoing captain Carl Ehrlich received the Kennedy Award for desire and determination; senior offensive tackle James Williams accepted the Wolf Award as the team's outstanding interior linemen; and senior running back Cheng Ho gained the LaCroix Trophy for enthusiasm, sportsmanship, and loyalty.
Zych was commonly referred to as Harvard's best football player by Murphy at media sessions throughout the season and his two honors lend credence to the distinction. Zych led the Ivy League in pass breakups (12) and passes defended (14) while ranking third in the league in solo tackles with 53 - more than double the next closest Harvard defender. His 73 total tackles led the Crimson and he tied for second on the team as well with six tackles for a loss.
Zych is the player who broke through two downfield blocks against Yale to force the decisive tackle by Anthony Spadafino on the Bulldogs' reverse punt fake late in Harvard's 14-10 victory.
Hayes returned to Cambridge this season to help anchor a linebacking corps that had lost significant talent to graduation over the past two seasons. He started nine of the 10 games he appeared in, ranking second on the team in tackles with 49 and solo tackles with 23 while leading the team in assisted tackles (26).
Ehrlich had a big season statistically despite his defensive tackle position. Ehrlich tied for second on the team with six tackles for a loss and tied for the team lead in sacks with four while collecting 36 total tackles. He had two pass sacks against Yale and forced a fumble against Penn.
Williams' talent has been covered in great detail. The Chestnut Hill, Mass. native is regarded as one of the country's elite left tackles and has been an All-America selection since his sophomore season.
Ho earned All-Ivy League honors as a sophomore in 2007 and, despite missing numerous games due to injury, finished his career with 1,253 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns and a 5.0 yard per carry average.
Harvard went 7-3 overall and 6-1 in the Ivy League in the 2009 season, defeating Yale, 14-10 in dramatic fashion at Yale Bowl to earn its eighth victory over the Bulldogs in the last nine years. The season marked Harvard's Ivy League-record ninth-straight season with at least seven wins - with no other Ivy team even having seven such seasons.
2009 Harvard Football Award Winners
Frederick Greeley Crocker Award (MVP) Collin Zych
Henry H. Lamar Award (dedication to program) Sean Hayes
Joseph E. Wolf Award (top interior lineman) James Williams
William Paine LaCroix Trophy (enthusiasm, sportsmanship, loyalty) Cheng Ho
Robert F. Kennedy Award (desire and determination) Carl Ehrlich
The 137th Harvard Football Captain Collin Zych