VANCOUVER - Maybe it is easy being Greene after all.
Fourth-year University of British Columbia quarterback Billy Greene was named the top player in Canadian university football Thursday, becoming the third Thunderbird to win the Hec Crighton trophy after running back Mark Nohra (1997) and quarterback Jordan Gagner (1987).
Greene turned around the UBC program this season, getting the 6-2 Thunderbirds into the playoffs for the first time in five years after a 2-6 campaign in 2010. He led the country in passing yards (2,558), tied for the CIS lead in touchdown passes (20) and topped all quarterbacks with 482 yards rushing, a team high.
"I'm very happy for Billy, because he took a big step this off-season as far as the work that he put in," UBC coach Shawn Olson said. "It's always good to see a guy rewarded for the amount of work he puts in and to see a player start to fulfill his potential. This is a big as it gets. It's a huge honour and it's something that I think every CIS player dreams about."
Also during the Gibson's Finest CFL Player Awards at the Vancouver Convention Centre -- it was the first time the CFL and CIS awards were presented together -- Concordia Stingers linebacker Max Caron won the Presidents' trophy as the top defensive player, Laval Rouge et Or defensive end Arnaud Gascon-Nadon won the J.P. Metras trophy as top lineman for the second straight year and Western Ontario Mustangs running back won the Peter Gorman trophy as top rookie.
Three more CIS awards -- coach of the year, Russ Jackson Award for football, academics and citizenship and Gino Fracas Award that goes to the top volunteer assistant coach -- will he handed out Friday.