Nine finalists named for 2019 FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award Reply

Winner to be announced on Dec. 20

DALLAS — The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, announced nine finalists for the 2019 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on Tuesday. Among the finalists are three previous finalists and three of the four head coaches competing in the College Football Playoff.

In alphabetical order the finalists are: Ryan Day, Ohio State; Eliah Drinkwitz, Appalachian State; Sonny Dykes, SMU; P.J. Fleck, Minnesota; Bryan Harsin, Boise State; Mike Norvell, Memphis; Ed Orgeron, LSU; Matt Rhule, Baylor; and Dabo Swinney, Clemson.

Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

This is the third consecutive season for Swinney to be a finalist and the fifth time overall (also 2015 and ’11). Fleck was a finalist in 2016 at Western Michigan and Harsin was a finalist in 2014 at Boise State. The 2019 recipient will be announced on Friday, Dec. 20.

“These nine coaches have had outstanding seasons,” 2019 FWAA President Matt Fortuna said. “We could not be happier to present this award next month in New Orleans, as each individual exemplifies the values embodied by the award’s namesake, Eddie Robinson.”

The official presentation reception will be on Jan. 11, 2020, in New Orleans where the winning coach will be handed the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year bust during a reception hosted by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship.

“The Allstate Sugar Bowl is proud each year to recognize the top college football coach in the nation while at the same time honoring the great accomplishments of a Louisiana legend, Coach Eddie Robinson,” said Monique Morial, the President of the Sugar Bowl Committee. “And we’re excited that this year we will be recognizing the winner right here in New Orleans as part of the College Football Playoff National Championship festivities that we’re hosting in January.”

The nine finalists have been placed on a ballot which has been sent to the entire FWAA membership. Ballots will be accepted through 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 13.

The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. The FWAA coaching award is named after the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.

The 2019 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalists:

Ryan Day, Ohio State: Day was the media’s choice for Big Ten Coach of the Year. The last time Ohio State had a coach named Big Ten Coach of the Year was 1979, the year Day was born. The 40-year drought ended last week as the first-year coach guided Ohio State to a 13-0 season with a Big Ten Championship win and a berth into the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes dominated the Big Ten this season powered by the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense (48.7), No. 5 total offense (531.0), No. 2 total defense (247.6) and No. 2 (tied) scoring defense (12.5).

Eliah Drinkwitz, Appalachian State: In Drinkwitz’s one season at the helm, Appalachian State (12-1) won its fourth straight Sun Belt Conference title and made history as the first 12-win Sun Belt team and earned the highest national ranking in school and conference history. The No. 20 Mountaineers became the first Sun Belt team to beat two Power Five teams (North Carolina and South Carolina, both on the road) in the same season. Drinkwitz has accepted the same position at Missouri.

Sonny Dykes, SMU: In his second year with the Mustangs, Dykes led SMU to its first 10-win season (10-2) since 1984 and its first perfect home season (6-0) since 1968. The Mustangs are No. 6 nationally in scoring offense (43.0, currently a school record), No. 9 in total offense (495.3, currently a school record) and No. 12 in passing offense (309.3, second all-time at the school), while the defense set school records with 50 sacks (second nationally, one behind Ohio State) and 105 tackles for loss (fourth nationally, 8.75 per game).

P.J. Fleck, Minnesota: The Gophers won 10 games (10-2) in the regular season for the first time since 1905 and won seven Big Ten games for the first time in school history. Minnesota’s 31-26 home win over Penn State was its first against a top five opponent since 1999 and its first home win against a top five team since 1977. The Gophers reached as high as No. 7 in the AP poll, their highest ranking since 1962. Fleck was the coaches’ selection as the Big Ten Coach of the Year, marking the third time in the last seven seasons, Fleck has earned a conference coach of the year nod.

Bryan Harsin, Boise State: Harsin has led the Broncos to a 12-1 record and a second conference title in three seasons following a 31-10 win over Hawaii in the Mountain West Championship Game. The 12 wins are the most in a season for Boise State since Harsin’s first season in 2014 and the Broncos went a perfect 8-0 in Mountain West play for the first time since joining the conference in 2011. Boise State reached as high as No. 19 in the CFP rankings.

Mike Norvell, Memphis: Norvell has Memphis headed to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl as the Group of 5 representative after the Tigers (12-1) captured their first outright conference championship in 50 years. Memphis is No. 17 in the final CFP rankings following a regular season that saw the Tigers in the top 10 in scoring offense (No. 8, 40.5) and post 87 plays gaining 20-plus yards (tied for 6th nationally). Norvell has accepted the same position at Florida State.

Ed Orgeron, LSU: Orgeron has the Tigers at 13-0 for just the second time in school history and taking their SEC Championship into their first College Football Playoff game as the top-ranked team to face No. 4 Oklahoma in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. LSU defeated five top-10 teams in the regular season – Texas, Florida, Auburn, Alabama and then Georgia last week in the SEC Championship Game – behind the play of record-setting quarterback Joe Burrow, and is only the second team (Notre Dame, 1943) to do that prior to its bowl game. The Tigers have won 14 straight dating back to last year’s Fiesta Bowl and have scored in 49 of 52 quarters this season.

Matt Rhule, Baylor: The Bears (11-2) reached their first Big 12 Championship Game before falling to CFP No. 4-ranked Oklahoma and will play in the 2020 Allstate Sugar Bowl against Georgia. Defense guided Baylor’s fortunes as the Bears forced at least two takeaways in nine of their 13 games, including 16 interceptions in their last 10 games and at least one takeaway in their last 15 overall. The Bears have a school-record 43.0 sacks through 13 games after totaling only 25 in 2018. Baylor was 1-11 two years ago and 7-6 last season.

Dabo Swinney, Clemson: The Tigers became the first school to win five straight conference championship games last week with a 62-17 dismantling of Virginia in the ACC Championship Game, Clemson’s sixth under Swinney and 19th ACC title overall. Clemson is near the top of every major statistical category, leading the country in total defense (244.7) and scoring defense (10.6) while also posting the No. 3 total offense (547.7) and No. 4 scoring offense (46.5). The Tigers held eight of 13 opponents to 10 points or less while scoring 40 or more points 10 times and 50-plus seven times.

The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 93 Hall of Fame players, 50 Hall of Fame coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 85-year history. The 86th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, featuring the Baylor Bears from the Big 12 and the Georgia Bulldogs from the SEC, will be played on January 1, 2020. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, scholarships and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors nearly 100,000 student-athletes each year and has injected over $2.5 billion into the local economy over the last decade. For more information, visit AllstateSugarBowl.org.

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

Eddie Robinson Award
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award | All-time winners, finalists

Photo gallery: Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year reception for UAB’s Bill Clark

Photos from the reception for Alabama-Birmingham Coach Bill Clark, winner of the 2018 FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. The reception was on Jan. 5, 2019, at the San Jose Marriott.

UAB’s Clark wins 2018 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

Award to be presented on Jan. 5 in San Jose

DALLAS — UAB coach Bill Clark has truly made something out of nothing. It’s a football comeback story that defies the expectations of even the most ardent of Blazers fans. And on Thursday, the 50-year-old Clark was named the 2018 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year recipient by the Football Writers Association of America and the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

In 2015 and ’16, UAB did not have an FBS team playing at Legion Field – or anywhere. The school resumed the program for the 2017 season and posted an impressive 8-5 record that concluded with the school’s first bowl appearance at the Bahamas Bowl. Clark was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year for 2017 and quickly built on that initial success.

In 2018 the Blazers are now a championship team.

This season the Blazers own a 10-3 overall record and are C-USA champions after beating Middle Tennessee, 27-25, in the conference championship game, avenging their only conference loss to the Blue Raiders a week earlier. UAB faces Northern Illinois in the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl next Tuesday, Dec. 18. The Blazers have not lost at Legion Field since the return, and their 12-0 mark is currently the fifth-longest home win streak in the country.

The 10 victories are already a school record for one of the better defensive teams in the FBS. The Blazers are 10th nationally in total defense (300.2 ypg, five yards behind Alabama), lead the nation in fourth-down defense (27.8 percent opponent conversions) and are second in third-down defense (25.0 percent conversions).

“Bill Clark has done a yeoman’s job in rebuilding the UAB program from scratch,” said 2018 FWAA President Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times. “The fact the Blazers won the Conference USA title in 2018 is one thing. Considering the circumstances, it goes into the extraordinary category.”

Clark is the first coach from Conference USA to receive the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, but the second straight coach from a Group of Five school to claim it. Last season, UCF’s Scott Frost of the American Athletic Conference was the recipient when his team finished off an unbeaten 13-0 season.

“It would be hard to imagine someone more deserving than Bill Clark for this award,” said Sugar Bowl President Rod West. “Two seasons ago, UAB didn’t even have a football team, and next week the Blazers will be playing in a bowl game as the champion of Conference USA. We congratulate Coach Clark on everything he has accomplished to date and we welcome him to the list of great coaches to have won the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.”

The official presentation reception will be on Saturday Jan. 5, 2019, in San Jose, Calif., where Clark will be handed the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year bust during a reception in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

“I am truly humbled to receive the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award and would like to thank the Football Writers Association of America and the Allstate Sugar Bowl for this prestigious recognition,” Clark said. “This honor is the epitome of a team effort and it would not have been possible without the countless hours of the entire staff and the relentless motivation from our student-athletes in striving to make history every day. UAB football would also like to thank the entire city of Birmingham for its tremendous support throughout this journey and making it possible for us to take the field each and every Saturday.”

The other seven finalists for the award were Josh Heupel of UCF; Brian Kelly of Notre Dame; Jeff Monken of Army; Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma; Nick Saban of Alabama; Dabo Swinney of Clemson; and Jeff Tedford of Fresno State. Clark won in a vote of the entire FWAA membership.

In late 2014, the UAB football program was shut down by the school due to financial issues, only to be brought back again in the middle of 2015 with the intention to resume play in 2017. Clark was in his first year as UAB head coach in 2014 when the Blazers posted a 6-6 record but did not receive a bowl invitation, then remained in limbo for several months until a $50 million fund drive by fans helped convince school officials to bring the program back.

“When I came back these were the kinds of things I expected,” UAB kicker Nick Vogel said of playing for championships. “I knew the kind of coach that Coach Clark was. He was part of the reason I came back. I fully believed in him to bring us to this point. It took us two years, which is way shorter than anyone would have guessed, but we’re here and happy to be here.”

The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. Beginning in 1997, the FWAA Coach of the Year Award has been named in honor of the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.

Robinson, who passed away in 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 won nine Black College Football Championships during his career spent all at the same school.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 93 Hall of Fame players, 49 Hall of Fame coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 84-year history. The 85th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, featuring the Big 12’s Texas and Georgia from the SEC, will be played on January 1, 2019. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, scholarships and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors nearly 100,000 student-athletes each year and has injected over $2.5 billion into the local economy over the last decade. For more information, visit AllstateSugarBowl.org.

The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

Eddie Robinson Award
Eight finalists named for 2018 Eddie Robinson Award
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award | All-time winners

Finalists named for 2018 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

Winner to be announced on Dec. 13

DALLAS – The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, announced eight finalists for the 2018 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on Wednesday. Among the recognized coaches are five repeat finalists from a year ago, a pair of previous winners, and each of the four head coaches in the upcoming College Football Playoff.

In alphabetical order the finalists are: Bill Clark, UAB; Josh Heupel, UCF; Brian Kelly, Notre Dame; Jeff Monken, Army; Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma; Nick Saban, Alabama; Dabo Swinney, Clemson; and Jeff Tedford, Fresno State.

“It is an outstanding group of coaches,” said 2018 FWAA President Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times. “Any one of the coaches would make a great choice for our 2018 Coach of the Year. We believe all these men demonstrate the coaching excellence that the award’s namesake, Eddie Robinson, showed on and off the field.”

Notre Dame’s Kelly and Alabama’s Saban are the only former Eddie Robinson Award winners in the group. The 2018 recipient will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 13.

The official presentation reception will be on Jan. 5, 2019, in San Jose, Calif., where the winning coach will be handed the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year bust during a reception hosted by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship.

“The Allstate Sugar Bowl is proud each year to recognize the top college football coach in the nation while at the same time honoring the great accomplishments of a Louisiana legend, Coach Eddie Robinson,” said Sugar Bowl Committee President Rod West. “And we’re excited to do so again this year when we present the award to this year’s winner in a ceremony prior to the National Championship in January.”

The eight finalists have been placed on a ballot which has been sent to the entire FWAA membership. Ballots will be accepted through 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 7.

The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. The FWAA coaching award is named after the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.

The 2018 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalists:

Bill Clark, UAB: After the school’s two-year hiatus from football, Clark’s Blazers posted an 8-4 record during the 2017 regular season and followed that up with the Conference USA title in 2018 paced by undefeated seasons at Legion Field both years. Clark has built a roster from scratch and has recorded the most victories in a UAB season. The Blazers (10-3), 10th nationally in total defense, will meet Northern Illinois in the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl. Clark, who has won C-USA-high 13 league games over the last two seasons, also was a finalist in 2017.

Josh Heupel, UCF: In his first season as a head coach in Orlando, Heupel has fashioned a 12-0 record and has continued what Scott Frost, last season’s Eddie Robinson Award recipient, started before leaving for Nebraska. The Knights have the longest winning streak in the FBS at 25 games and will meet LSU in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl after winning the American Athletic Conference title. The former Oklahoma quarterback, who was previously offensive coordinator at Missouri, has the Knights ranked No. 8 in the College Football Playoff’s final rankings.

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: One of four coaches on the list who has led his team to an unbeaten record (12-0) in 2018. Kelly claimed the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award in 2012 when the Fighting Irish were also 12-0 before losing to Alabama in the Bowl Championship Series title game. Kelly was a finalist for the award in 2009 when he was at Cincinnati. After posting a 4-8 record in 2016, Notre Dame has now won 22 of its last 25 games and will face Clemson in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl in one College Football Playoff semifinal.

Jeff Monken, Army: Riding a seven-game winning streak, Army stands at 9-2 before its annual meeting against Navy on Saturday in Philadelphia. The triple-option Black Knights, the nation’s No. 2 rushing team (303 ypg), will play in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl against Houston. Monken, also a finalist in 2017, has seen his team drop games to only Duke and Oklahoma this season. The Sooners had to go to overtime before prevailing, 28-21, in Norman and the Black Knights have not lost since.

Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma: The second-year head coach has taken the Sooners to back-to-back 12-1 seasons and College Football Playoff berths. Behind Heisman Trophy hopeful quarterback Kyler Murray, the Sooners have one of college football’s all-time most prolific offenses. The Sooners, No. 4 in the College Football Playoff’s final rankings, defeated Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game and will face Alabama in a College Football Playoff semifinal in the Capital One Orange Bowl. Riley was also a finalist last season.

Nick Saban, Alabama: The Crimson Tide has been the dominant team of the 2018 season and enters the College Football Playoff as the top seed. The Southeastern Conference champions (13-0) will seek to repeat as national champions and start that quest in the Capital One Orange Bowl against Oklahoma. Saban, a five-time finalist for this award, has done a masterful job of keeping a heavy favorite on track despite a nagging injury to his star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, a Heisman Trophy favorite. While at Alabama, Saban claimed the award in 2008 and also won the award in 2003 while at LSU.

Dabo Swinney, Clemson: Swinney has the Tigers in the College Football Playoff for the fourth straight year with a fourth straight Atlantic Coast Conference championship and a 13-0 record. Swinney is now a four-time finalist for the award (previously in 2011, ’15 and ’17), but has never won it. The Tigers will face Notre Dame in one semifinal the Goodyear Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29 in their first appearance in the Texas-based bowl since 1940. The Tigers are the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff.

Jeff Tedford, Fresno State: In his second season at his alma mater, Tedford took the Bulldogs (11-2) to the Mountain West Conference championship with a 19-16 overtime victory at Boise State. That victory, which avenged a previous loss to the Broncos this season, earned Tedford’s team a berth in the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl against Arizona State. Tedford was also a finalist last season when his Bulldogs made one of the top turnarounds in college football. Fresno State’s only other loss this season was at Minnesota, 21-14.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 93 Hall of Fame players, 49 Hall of Fame coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 84-year history. The 85th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, featuring the Big 12’s Texas and Georgia from the SEC, will be played on January 1, 2019. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, scholarships and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors nearly 100,000 student-athletes each year and has injected over $2.5 billion into the local economy over the last decade. For more information, visit AllstateSugarBowl.org.

The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

Eddie Robinson Award
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award | All-time finalists, winners

 

Photo gallery: Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year reception

Photos from the FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year reception on Jan. 6 in Atlanta.

Scott Frost named FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year

Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

DALLAS — It took Scott Frost only two seasons to turn what was a winless UCF team into an unbeaten one. For finishing a complete turnaround this season that includes a conference championship and a New Year’s Day bowl bid, Frost earned the 2017 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, the association and the Allstate Sugar Bowl announced Thursday.

UCF (12-0) was the only unbeaten team in the Football Bowl Subdivision in the regular season, and will meet Auburn (10-3) in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day. Five days later he will return to Atlanta to be honored as the FWAA’s coach of the year. It will be Frost’s final game at UCF before taking over as head coach at his alma mater, Nebraska. As a senior quarterback, Frost helped lead the Cornhuskers to a perfect 13-0 record and a national championship in 1997.

2017 FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Scott Frost, who led the University of Central Florida to an unbeaten season and will become Nebraska’s next coach, at the College Football Awards Show on Dec. 7 in Atlanta.

“Scott Frost is one of the up-and-coming coaches in college football,” said 2017 FWAA President Dave Jones of the PA Media Group. “What he did at UCF was nothing short of remarkable in just two seasons.”

In conjunction with presenting sponsor, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the Football Writers Association of America selected Frost over seven other finalists: Bill Clark of UAB; Lane Kiffin of Florida Atlantic; Jeff Monken of Army; Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma; Kirby Smart of Georgia; Dabo Swinney of Clemson; and Jeff Tedford of Fresno State.

Frost became the first coach whose school is not currently among the Power Five conferences to win the FWAA Coach of the Year Award since Air Force’s Fisher DeBerry in 1985.

“The Allstate Sugar Bowl is proud to be able to honor Coach Robinson, a Louisiana legend, by sponsoring this award,” said Stanley Cohn, the President of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Committee. “I would also like to congratulate Scott Frost on earning this honor. To take a team that was winless two years ago all the way to an undefeated season and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is a very impressive feat. We look forward to officially presenting the trophy to him in Atlanta next month.”

The official presentation will be on Jan. 6, 2018, at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel where Frost will be handed the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year bust during a reception in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The season prior to Frost’s arrival in Orlando from his post as Oregon’s offensive coordinator, the Knights were 0-12. In Frost’s first season in 2016, the Knights finished 6-7 and played in the AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando after making dramatic improvements on offense and defense.

That set the stage for 2017 and the Knights’ undefeated run to win the American Athletic Conference title. UCF led the FBS in scoring (49.4 points per game) with its “UCFast” offense and was tied for second in the country in turnover margin (plus-1.25 per game).

“I’m very proud of what this group of student-athletes and coaches has accomplished during my tenure at UCF,” Frost said last week. “The Knights should be in the conversation for the American Athletic Conference championship year in and year out. UCF should be a Top 25 program year in and year out. I believe this program is well on its way to establishing that level of success.

“The next head coach at UCF is inheriting an incredible group of young men and is more fortunate than he probably knows to be working at this place.”

The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. The FWAA coaching award is named after the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.

Robinson, who passed away in 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 won nine Black College Football Championships during his career spent all at the same school.

The Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com or call 214-870-6516.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 27 national champions, 92 Hall of Fame players, 48 Hall of Fame coaches and 17 Heisman Trophy winners in its 83-year history. The 84th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal, will be played on January 1, 2018. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors nearly 100,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting more than $2.5 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit AllstateSugarBowl.org.

 

FWAA names eight finalists for Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

NEW YORK (FWAA) – The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, announced eight finalists for the 2017 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award during a National Football Foundation news conference at the New York Hilton Midtown.

In alphabetical order the eight finalists are: Bill Clark, UAB; Scott Frost, UCF; Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic; Jeff Monken, Army; Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma; Kirby Smart, Georgia; Dabo Swinney, Clemson; and Jeff Tedford, Fresno State.

“We have an excellent group of finalists who stretch from the East Coast to the West Coast and represent a cross-section of conferences in the Football Bowl Subdivision,” the FWAA’s 2017 President Dave Jones said. “Some of these coaches will be competing for the College Football Playoff national title. Others represent remarkable building of programs and turnarounds.”

There are no previous “Eddie” winners in the group, and Swinney is the only previous finalist for one of college football’s most prestigious coaching awards. The winner will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 14.

“The Allstate Sugar Bowl is proud to have the opportunity to recognize the top college football coaches in the nation while at the same time honoring Louisiana legend Eddie Robinson,” said Stanley Cohn, President of the Sugar Bowl Committee. “We’re looking forward to presenting this prestigious trophy to the winner in Atlanta this January.”

The finalists were placed on a ballot which is being sent out to the entire FWAA membership this morning. Ballots will be accepted from the membership through 5 p.m. CT on Friday, December 8.

The official presentation reception will be on Jan. 6, 2018, in Atlanta where the winning coach will be handed the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year bust during a reception in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. The FWAA coaching award is named after the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.

The 2017 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Finalists:

UAB’s Bill Clark: After the school’s two-year hiatus from football, Clark’s Blazers posted an 8-4 record during the 2017 regular season. Clark has built a roster from scratch and has recorded the most FBS victories in a UAB season. The Blazers beat four bowl-eligible teams, placed second in C-USA’s West Division at 6-2, and earned only the second bowl bid in program history, when they’ll take on Ohio in the Bahamas Bowl.

UCF’s Scott Frost: UCF (12-0) has its longest winning streak in program history heading into its Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl meeting against Auburn. The American Athletic Conference champions lead the nation in scoring (49.4 ppg) and are the only unbeaten team remaining in the FBS. Frost has accepted a job at his alma mater to coach the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but will coach UCF in Atlanta.

FAU’s Lane Kiffin: In his first season at the school, the well-traveled Kiffin led the Owls (10-3) to a win in the Conference USA Championship Game, as FAU became only the league’s second team to finish the regular season undefeated and win the title game. Kiffin led one of the best turnarounds in the FBS, as FAU was 3-9 year ago. The Owls, who have won nine straight games after a 1-3 start, will play Akron in the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl.

Army’s Jeff Monken: Army stands at 8-3 before its meeting against Navy on Saturday in Philadelphia. The Black Knights, the nation’s top rushing team (368.1 ypg), will meet San Diego State in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. A year ago, the Black Knights broke a 14-game losing streak against Navy and have fed off that momentum in 2017. They were unbeaten at home (6-0) for the first time since 1996. The Black Knights lost two road games by a total of seven points.

Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley: In his first season as a head coach, the nation’s youngest FBS head coach (34) has taken the Sooners to a 12-1 record and a berth in the College Football Playoff. With a Heisman Trophy finalist in quarterback in Baker Mayfield, the Sooners have one of college football’s most prolific offenses. The Sooners, No. 2 in the CFP’s final rankings, defeated TCU a second time this season in the Big 12 Championship and will face Georgia in the Rose Bowl.

Georgia’s Kirby Smart: The Southeastern Conference champion Bulldogs (12-1) were ranked No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings for the first time in school history – and stayed there for two weeks before finishing at No. 3, following their win over Auburn in the SEC Championship Game. The Bulldogs captured the SEC Eastern Division, including a perfect 6-0 in the division for the first time since the league split into divisions in 1992. Smart is in the second year as head coach at his alma mater.

Clemson’s Dabo Swinney: Coach of the defending national champions, Swinney has the Tigers in the College Football Playoff for the third straight year. The Atlantic Coast Conference champions (12-1) and top seed in the playoff will meet Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, a rematch of the last two national championship games. Swinney was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award in 2011 and ‘15.

Fresno State’s Jeff Tedford: In his first season at his alma mater, Tedford helped record the best turnaround in the FBS, as the Bulldogs finished 9-3 in the regular season after a 1-11 record in 2016. Fresno State won its division at 7-1 before falling to Boise State in the Mountain West Championship Game. Two of the Bulldogs’ three losses were to Alabama and Washington early in the season. Fresno State will meet Houston in the Hawaii Bowl.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 27 national champions, 92 Hall of Fame players, 48 Hall of Fame coaches and 17 Heisman Trophy winners in its 83-year history. The 84th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal, will be played on January 1, 2018. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors nearly 100,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.5 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit AllstateSugarBowl.org.

The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

Photo gallery: 2017 FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Reception

Photos from the reception for Colorado Coach Mike MacIntyre, the 2016 FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, on Jan. 7, 2017, in Tampa.