DeBonis '20 Receives Black Lion Award
Aquinas senior, Joe DeBonis, received this year’s Black Lion Award at a ceremony held at the school on Monday, February 10.
While the Black Lion Award is given to a football player, it is not awarded for athletic ability or athletic accomplishments – it is awarded to those who exemplify the character of Don Holleder, “leadership, courage, devotion to duty, self-sacrifice, and above all, an unselfish concern for the team ahead of himself."
The national award bears great significance to Aquinas as it is given in memory of Major Don Holleder, an Aquinas alumnus of the Class of 1952, and former West Point All-American who died in combat in Vietnam on October 17, 1967. The award also commemorates the men of the Black Lions – the 28th Infantry Regiment – who died with Holleder that day.
Every high school, middle school and youth football team in America is eligible to participate in the Black Lion Award program. Coaches choose one player at the end of the season who fits the award criteria and submit a letter of nomination explaining how that player exemplifies Don Holleder’s character.
DeBonis, a three-year starter on the Li’l Irish varsity football team said, “To be compared to Major Holleder in any way is a huge honor.”
He will attend the University of Rochester this fall, where he will study business and continue his football career.
Pictured: Joe DeBonis ‘20 stands with his parents and his Black Lion Award in front of a portrait of Maj. Don Holleder for whom the award is in honor of.