Beaver Falls, PA - For the first time in its history, the NAIA turned to the American Football Coaches Association for its 2006 All-American team. For the first time since the AFCA began selecting All-American teams in 1945, the Association announced the 25 members of the inaugural NAIA Coaches′ All-American team. Geneva College senior linebacker Brian Hall (Rillton, PA) was listed as one of the top 25 players in America.
"This is a remarkable accomplishment for Brian," said head coach Geno DeMarco. "Anyone who watched him play this year and throughout his career is not surprised by this accomplishment. To think that only three linebackers throughout the entire NAIA were named speaks volumes of the respect that coaches across the country give this young man."
Hall, who nearly didn′t even play in 2006, saw his season cut short in 2005 because of a severe ankle injury in the second game of the season. Only through his determination and commitment to return did Hall get back on the field for the start of the 2006 campaign. The questions remained prior to the season whether or not he would be able to regain his old form. Hall has obviously answered those questions loud and clear with a memorable senior season.
Leading Geneva′s defense for the fourth time in five years, Hall compiled 91 tackles this past fall, which helped him move up to third on Geneva′s all-time tackles list. A three-time Mid-States Football Association All-Conference performer, Hall has also garnered NCCAA All-American status three different times.
"Brian′s determination and hard work to get back on the field this year rubbed off on every one of our players," said DeMarco. "When your most talented player is working as hard or harder than everyone else, that makes for a good formula for a football team."
Three other players from the MSFA Mideast League were named to the AFCA first-team. Ohio Dominican quarterback Chris Reisert, Walsh offensive lineman Mike Galassi and St. Francis linebacker Brian Kurtz were also first team selections.
The AFCA selection process included three head coaches from each of the AFCA′s nine districts, one of whom serves as a district chairman, along with another head coach who serves as the chairman of the selection committee. The coaches in each district are responsible for ranking the top players in their respective districts prior to a conference call between the district chairman and the committee chairman on which the team is chosen. "The NAIA did a great thing in incorporating the AFCA into this process," said DeMarco. "This All-American gets immediate credibility when it is linked to the AFCA."