Ferguson, Gonzales Finalists For Oregon Sports Awards
Ferguson (left) and Gonzales led Western Oregon to the school's first GNAC football championship.
Ferguson (left) and Gonzales led Western Oregon to the school's first GNAC football championship.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. – After a season that saw Western Oregon win its first GNAC football championship, head coach Arne Ferguson and senior offensive lineman Joseph Gonzales are among the finalists for honors in the 68th Oregon Sports Awards.

Ferguson is among four finalists for the Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year award while Gonzales is one of four finalists for the Ad Rutschman Small College Athlete of the Year. Award winners will be announced between May 18 and May 29 on NBC Sports Northwest and Rip City Radio 620 AM (KPOJ) in Portland.

Ferguson finds his name on a very select list for the Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year award. Also among the finalists is Oregon football coach Mario Cristobal, Oregon women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves and Southern Oregon volleyball coach Josh Rohlfing.

In his 15th year as head coach and his 31st as part of the Western Oregon staff in 2019, Ferguson led the Wolves to their first-ever GNAC championship, sharing the title with Central Washington as both programs finished with 5-1 conference records and 7-4 overall marks. For his efforts in leading WOU to the title, Ferguson was named GNAC Coach of the Year.

The Wolves finished the season averaging 34.1 points per game and the team’s 465.8 yards of total offense per game ranked 18th in Division II. The team’s 17.15 yards per pass completion ranked fourth in Division II while the program’s 242.9 rushing yards per game ranked 16th. Defensively, Western Oregon led the GNAC with 359.4 yards allowed per game.

A total of 22 of Ferguson’s players earned All-GNAC honors, led by Offensive Player of the Year Ty Currie, Newcomer of the Year Avery Bilensky and Defensive Lineman of the Year Blayne Burnett.

Gonzales was also among the special awards winners, sharing the Offensive Lineman of the Year award with Central Washington’s Nicholas Streubel. He was also named a Second Team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association and an Honorable Mention All-American by D2Football.com and earned All-Super Region 4 honors from both the D2CCA and the Don Hansen Committee.

Joining Gonzales as finalists for the male Ad Rutschman Award are Oregon Tech basketball standout Mitchell Fink, George Fox golfer Mason Koch and Linfield quarterback Wyatt Smith.

Named for the longtime men’s basketball coach at Oregon State, the Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Yeat award is presented to an outstanding coach, administrator or organization from an Oregon-based team. The Ad Rutschman Small College Athlete of the Year award is named for the longtime football coach at Linfield College in McMinnville and is awarded to outstanding male and female athletes at Oregon’s 14 Division II, Division III and NAIA-affiliated colleges and the state’s 10 community colleges.

The only GNAC athlete to have been honored in the Oregon Sports Awards was Western Oregon’s David Ribich, who won the 2018 Ad Rutschman Award.