Nine Coaches Selected as Finalists for Eddie Robinson Award

Monday, December 3, 2012

DALLAS (FWAA) – The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Fiesta Bowl, has announced nine finalists for the 2012 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, whose winner will be revealed on Thursday, Dec. 13.

In alphabetical order the finalists are:

Gary Andersen (Utah State), Dave Doeren (Northern Illinois), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Urban Meyer (Ohio State),Will Muschamp (Florida), Bill O'Brien (Penn State), David Shaw (Stanford), Bill Snyder (Kansas State) and Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M).

The finalists will be placed on a ballot which is being sent to the entire FWAA membership today. Ballots will be accepted from the membership through Dec. 8. FWAA members were asked to vote for their top choices in the order they believe the coaches are deserving of the award.

The official presentation reception will be on Jan. 6, 2013, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where the winning coach will be given the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award during a reception at the media hotel.

Of the finalists, only Meyer previously has captured the FWAA coaching award, in 2004 during his final season at Utah.
Here is a look at the nine finalists:

Gary Andersen, Utah State (10-2): The Aggies set a school season record with 10 victories and claimed their first outright league championship since 1936 as Anderson guided Utah State to the Western Athletic Conference title. Included in the victories was a 48-41 overtime win over then-20th-ranked Louisiana Tech. Utah State lost only to BYU (by three points) and Wisconsin (by two).

Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois (12-1): After a season-opening 18-17 loss to Iowa at Soldier Field in Chicago, the Huskies have won 12 straight games and earned the Mid-American Conference's first Bowl Championship Series berth, a date with Florida State in the Discover Orange Bowl. The Hukies capped off the regular season with a 44-37 overtime victory over Kent State, another one-loss team at the time, in the MAC Championship game. The season catapulted Doren to accept the N.C. State job.

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame (12-0): The Fighting Irish finished a perfect regular season with a victory over arch-rival USC at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Notre Dame finished the regular season as the top-ranked team in college football in all the major polls and will face Alabama in the Discover BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7, 2013. Kelly was a finalist for the award in 2009 while at Cincinnati.

Urban Meyer, Ohio State (12-0): Despite being on NCAA probation because of violations from the previous staff and ineligible for the Big Ten title and postseason play, Meyer's Buckeyes completed the school's sixth perfect regular season in his first season at the school. Meyer won the award in 2004 at Utah and was a finalist in 2008 while at Florida.

Will Muschamp, Florida (11-1): Save for its only loss of the season to Georgia, Florida would have been in the SEC title game. Nevertheless, the Gators, in Muschamp’s second season, rebounded from last year's 7-6 record and made it to the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Florida's notable victories came over Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina and Florida State.

Bill O'Brien, Penn State (8-4): O'Brien took over a tough situation at Penn State in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. While Penn Stated also suffered personnel losses and campus turmoil, the first-year college coach kept the Nittany Lions focused despite an 0-2 start. They capped the season with a 24-21 overtime win over eventual Big Ten champion Wisconsin.

David Shaw, Stanford (11-2): Shaw coached Stanford to the Pac-12 Conference title with back-to-back victories over UCLA. A 17-14 overtime road victory at Oregon proved to be the biggest victory of the season and unlocked the door to a Rose Bowl berth. Stanford lost only road games to Washington and to Notre Dame in overtime during the 2012 season.

Bill Snyder, Kansas State (11-1): The Wildcats have had a dream season, except for one nightmarish evening in Waco, Texas, that ultimately cost the Wildcats a spot in the BCS Championship game. Quarterback Collin Klein, a Heisman Trophy hopeful, has been the leader of the Wildcats, who have made it to a BCS bowl for the second time in their history as they will take on Oregon in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Snyder is a finalist for the award for a third time (1998 and 2011).

Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M (10-2): In the school’s first season in the Southeastern Conference and Sumlin's first year in College Station, a magical season was hatched. Redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel put a bid in for the Heisman Trophy with a record-smashing season as the Aggies suffered only close home losses to SEC powers LSU and Florida, and upset then-top-ranked Alabama, the Crimson Tide's lone loss this season.

The FWAA has honored a major college coach with its coach of the Year award since 1957. Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University, has been the FWAA's coaching namesake for the past 15 years. The Fiesta Bowl joined with the FWAA a year later as the sponsor of the award.

The late Robinson is the second-winningest coach in Division I history (408), and the move to announce finalists for the award in New York City is a natural. The Grambling Tigers, which Robinson coached from 1941-97, played numerous regular-season games at Yankee Stadium starting in the late 1960s and into the 1970s and later at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.

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.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football for a living. 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 gameday 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 972-713-6198.

The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game's predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association's official Web site, ncfaa.org.

The Fiesta Bowl is a non-profit organization founded by Arizona community leaders in 1971. Including more than 40 statewide events, the annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, the organization continues to promote volunteerism, athletic achievement and higher education. Its mission is to remain a source of pride for all Arizonans by contributing strongly to the state's economic development, tourism and community causes. The Fiesta Bowl has become a premier college bowl and has hosted seven collegiate football national championships in the past 24 years.