By Curtis Wolff
Andrew Buckley can add one more accolade to his medical school application.
Already boasting a shiny 3.93 grade-point average and coming off an outstanding season as the starting quarterback for the undefeated Dinos football team, the third-year kinesiology major was awarded the Russ Jackson Award for outstanding student athlete and citizenship at the Sun Life Financial All-Canadian Banquet in Quebec City on Thursday, Nov. 21.
“I’m hugely honoured to win this. This is such a prestigious award,” said Buckley. “Russ Jackson is such an honourable man. Just to have something like this, even to be considered for it, I’m just so proud and so humbled.”
The award was presented by Russ Jackson himself, the legendary former quarterback for the Ottawa Rough Riders who is also a member of the Order of Canada.
Buckley started all but one game for the Dinos in 2013 after teammate Eric Dzwilewski broke his foot in the season opener. Buckley stepped in more than admirably, and is currently sitting at 17 touchdowns for 2,875 yards with a 62.8 completion percentage.
But the focus of this award is largely on Buckley’s off-field life. From his daily 7 a.m. research sessions in the laboratory, to his humanitarian excursion to Guatemala, to the 90 minutes he spends every week with a pair of Alzheimer’s patients, Buckley is so well rounded he is the envy of spherical objects around the globe, including the globe itself.
How does the 20-year-old find time to even play football?
“A lot of late nights and afternoon naps, I’ll tell you that much,” laughs Buckley. “It’s a crazy life during football season.”
“Football has taught me a lot of time management skills. Getting home late after practice and having to crunch homework at the late hours, that’s one of the big things I’ve learned.”
Although he has proven to be a fantastic football player, Buckley is looking forward to pursuing a career in medicine despite the fact that such a choice would necessitate giving up his football career.
“It’s a very tough decision. This decision impacts the rest of my life,” said Buckley. “I really haven’t decided on when I want to pursue [medical school], but it is in the back of my mind. I just haven’t set a timetable for it yet.”
Most certainly on Buckley’s timetable is Saturday’s Vanier Cup against the University of Laval Rouge et Or.
“This is one of the highest [honours I’ve recieved], I’ve got to tell you,” said Buckley. “But I guess the highest would be winning the game on Saturday.”
The Russ Jackson Award was one of six major national awards handed out by the CIS at the gala. Dinos running back Mercer Timmis was nominated for the Hec Crighton Trophy for outstanding player, but lost out to Bishop’s University Gaiters quarterback Jordan Heather. Linebacker Doctor Cassama was also nominated for the Presidents’ Trophy for outstanding defensive player, and receiver Rashaun Simonise was nominated for the Peter Gorman Trophy for rookie of the year. Head coach Blake Nill was nominated for coach of the year.