DALLAS – Texas Christian University’s Gary Patterson has been named the winner of the 2014 FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award in the first year of the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s presenting sponsorship. Patterson is the eighth coach to claim the writers’ award at least twice. Two-time winners are Nick Saban (LSU, Alabama), Lou Holtz (Arkansas, Notre Dame), Darrell Royal (Texas), John McKay (USC) and Johnny Majors (Pittsburgh) as two-time winners of the 58-year-old National Coach of the Year Award. Woody Hayes (Ohio State) and Joe Paterno (Penn State) each won the award three times.
“I’d like to thank the Football Writers Association of America,” said Patterson, the winningest football coach in TCU history (131-45). “I’m very honored and humbled to be a part of such a great award and the man it represents.”
Patterson’s 2014 TCU team, after being picked to finish seventh by the media before the season, claimed a share of the Big 12 Conference football title in only its third season in the league. Rebounding from a 4-8 record in the 2013 season, the Horned Frogs (11-1 overall, 8-1 in the Big 12) finished sixth in the final College Football Playoff rankings. TCU will meet No. 9 Ole Miss in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31 in Atlanta.
The Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award will be highlighted during a reception at the Renaissance Hotel on Jan. 10, 2015, in Dallas, where Patterson will accept the Eddie Robinson bust at the College Football Playoff National Championship Game media hotel. He will place it alongside the bust he won five seasons ago.
Patterson, in his 14th season as the Horned Frogs’ head coach, also claimed the Eddie Robinson Award in 2009 when TCU won a Mountain West Conference championship, played in the Fiesta Bowl and finished with a 12-1 record and No. 6 ranking. Patterson was also a finalist for the award in 2003 and 2010. Previous to Patterson, the last Big 12 coach to win the award was Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy in 2011.
What they are saying about Coach Gary Patterson …
“The Sugar Bowl Committee is pleased to recognize Coach Patterson for the outstanding job he did with his TCU squad this year,” said Dennis Waldron, President of the Allstate Sugar Bowl. “Throughout the season Coach Patterson exhibited many of the same great characteristics for which Eddie Robinson was known over his lifetime in coaching. All of us here look forward to joining the Football Writers in honoring Coach Patterson with this great award next month in Dallas.”
“Congrats to Coach Gary Patterson, the TCU football program and the Big 12 on his winning the 2014 FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award,” said Eddie Robinson III, grandson of the legendary coach. “It is indeed a well deserved honor to be bestowed upon Coach Patterson, and his program’s accomplishments this 2014 season are reflective of what this award represents.”
“Gary Patterson had a phenomenal season, ” said 2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls from the Austin American-Statesman. “He was bold enough to revamp his offensive philosophy and hire a pair of new offensive coordinators, and the results were outstanding. He took TCU from a four-win season in 2013 to within a whisker of the College Football Playoff semifinals in 2014 and coached the Frogs to a Big 12 co-championship with an amazing turnaround.”
The entire FWAA membership had the opportunity to vote on the winner of the association’s Coach of the Year Award, which was narrowed to eight finalists earlier this month. The other seven finalists were Art Briles (Baylor), Jimbo Fisher (Florida State), Justin Fuente (Memphis), Bryan Harsin (Boise State), Mark Helfrich (Oregon), Urban Meyer (Ohio State) and Nick Saban (Alabama).
The FWAA has honored a major-college coach with its Coach of the Year Award since 1957 when Ohio State’s Hayes won the inaugural honor. Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University, has been the FWAA’s coaching namesake since 1997.
The late Robinson is the winningest coach in Division I history (408 games). Robinson, who passed away on April 3, 2007, won 70.7 percent of his games during his illustrious career. Robinson’s teams won or tied for 17 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships after joining the league in 1959. His Tigers claimed nine Black College Football Championships during his career spent all at the same school.
Robinson, who was named by the FWAA in 1966 as “The Coach Who Made the Biggest Contribution to College Football in the Past 25 Years,” often took his show on the road to places such as the Louisiana Superdome, the Cotton Bowl, the Astrodome, Tiger Stadium and Yankee Stadium. And with his star-studded array of players, Robinson helped integrate professional football.
In 1949, Grambling standout Tank Younger was the first player from a Historically Black College to sign with an NFL Team (Los Angeles Rams). By 1963, Buck Buchanan became the first player from a Historically Black College to be selected first overall in the professional draft (American Football League by the Kansas City Chiefs). Over the years, Robinson produced a Who’s Who of professional football players, with more than 200 of his former players dotting professional rosters.
In 1975, with one of his greatest teams quarterbacked by eventual All-Pro Doug Williams, Robinson’s Grambling team and Alcorn State became the first college teams to play a game in the Louisiana Superdome. The next season, Robinson’s Tigers, along with Morgan State, became the first American college football teams to play in Japan.
A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Robinson has the keys to cities all over the planet, has been awarded in every form and fashion and has honorary degrees from many schools. His bust is one of two coaching awards that are displayed in the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
The Eddie Robinson Museum is open in his honor in Grambling, La., where numerous memorabilia reside, including another bust of the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.