DALLAS (FWAA) – The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, has announced eight finalists for the 2014 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, whose winner will be revealed on Mon., Dec. 15.
In alphabetical order, the finalists are: Baylor’s Art Briles, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Memphis’ Justin Fuente, Boise State’s Bryan Harsin, Oregon’s Mark Helfrich, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, TCU’s Gary Patterson and Alabama’s Nick Saban.
The finalists were placed on a ballot sent out to the entire FWAA membership today. Ballots will be accepted from the membership through 5 p.m. CT on Friday. 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 Jan. 10, 2015, in Dallas, where the winning coach will be handed the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year bust during a reception at the media hotel in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes was named the first recipient.
The FWAA’s national coach of the year award is named after the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons. He has more Division I victories (408) than any other coach in the history of college football.
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 claimed nine black college football championships during his career, all spent at the same school.
The 2014 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalists:
Art Briles, Baylor: The Bears’ share of the Big 12 Conference title with TCU means Baylor (11-1) has a least a piece of the league crown for a second straight season. The Bears handed TCU its only loss, 61-58, in Waco and will face Michigan State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. Briles was an Eddie Robinson Award finalist last season.
Jimbo Fisher, Florida State: The Seminoles (13-0) claimed the national championship in 2013, and are on a 29-game winning streak. Florida State is one of the four teams selected for the College Football Playoff, with a chance to win back-to-back national titles. Fisher was an Eddie Robinson Award finalist last season, but no Florida State coach has won the FWAA’s coach of the year honor.
Justin Fuente, Memphis: The Tigers (9-3) claimed a share of the American Athletic Conference title. Their nine victories are the most by the Tigers since 1963, and the conference championship is the first for Memphis since winning the Missouri Valley in 1971. Fuente, a former Oklahoma quarterback, is in his third season at Memphis.
Bryan Harsin, Boise State: The Broncos rose to the top of the Group of Five in Harsin’s first season at Boise State, after he spent one season as the head coach at Arkansas State. Boise State (11-2), as the Mountain West Conference champion, will play in the VIZIO Fiesta Bowl against Arizona.
Mark Helfrich, Oregon: In his second season as the Oregon head coach, Helfrich is attempting to get the Ducks (12-1) back in the national title game as his predecessor Chip Kelly did in 2010 when he won the Eddie Robinson Award. Oregon won the Pac-12 title game to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff semifinals against Florida State in the Rose Bowl Game.
Urban Meyer, Ohio State: The Buckeyes (12-1) battled past a shocking early home loss to Virginia Tech, quarterback injuries and tragedy. They won the Big Ten Conference title, thumping Wisconsin, 59-0 in the championshhip game, with their third starting quarterback of the season. Meyer, like Patterson, has won the Eddie Robinson Award before, in 2004 at Utah.
Gary Patterson, TCU: The Horned Frogs were 4-8 a year ago in only their second season in the Big 12 Conference, but Patterson revamped his offense and TCU (11-1) gained a share of the school’s first Big 12 title. Patterson is also a former Eddie Robinson Award winner, in 2009 when the Horned Frogs were in the Mountain West Conference.
Nick Saban, Alabama: The Crimson Tide (12-1) will be going for their fourth national title in six years under Saban, who already added a third SEC title at Alabama this past weekend. Saban has won the Eddie Robinson Award twice before (2003 at LSU and 2008 at Alabama). The Crimson Tide meets Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in a College Football Playoff semifinal.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,400 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 gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-870-6516.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 23 national champions, 86 Hall of Fame players, 46 Hall of Fame coaches and 15 Heisman Trophy winners in its 80-year history. The 81st Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic on January 1, 2015, will be an integral part of a new era in college football as it will be one of the first playoff semifinal games in the College Football Playoff which begins with the 2014 season. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee is involved with various community initiatives through hosting and sponsorships of sporting events, awards and clinics. For more information, visit allstatesugarbowl.org.
The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 21 awards boast nearly 700 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.