June 17, 2008
NEW ORLEANS, La. –
For the last three years, the June ritual has been the same for Florida State track and field head coach Bob Braman: Win the Men’s NCAA Outdoor National Championship, get doused with ice water and then earn his sport’s top honor. With two of the three already secured, the third was inevitable and on Tuesday (June 17) it was confirmed as Braman was named Division I National Men’s Coach of the Year by the United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association.
Over the last four years Braman’s mantle has been overflowing with coaching awards. The national award is his third honor of the year and runs his total to 19 since 2005. Ironically, Braman did not earn either ACC Indoor or Outdoor Coach of the Year honors despite leading FSU to the team title in both and finishing first during the NCAA Outdoor Championships, second at the NCAA Indoor meet and won the East Regional for a fourth year in a row.
“To be named the top collegiate track coach in country is quite an honor and I am very appreciative of it,” Braman said. “While my name may be the only one on the award, it’s really a tribute to the work of the entire staff. They don’t have the opportunity to get recognized as often as they should, but I feel that I have the best coaching staff in the country and their hard work and dedication to our student-athletes is reflected in this award.”
The award comes on the heels of the Seminoles’ third-straight national championship that was won last weekend in Des Moines, Iowa. A fourth title next year would narrow Florida State’s elite status to one of four teams (Arkansas, USC and UTEP) as the only programs to win four in a row. Florida State’s title gives the conference its fourth national championship of the year, joining Boston College (men’s hockey), North Carolina (field hockey) and Wake Forest (men’s soccer).
Unlike last year when the Seminoles only took seven athletes to the championship and all seven had to score in order for FSU to win, Florida State had a much more balanced team in 2008. This year Florida State had 16 athletes qualify for the meet and nine brought home All-America awards for scoring points.
Sprinter Walter Dix put the finishing touches on his historic career. He won his third national title in the 200m – making him only the second man to win the event three times – while earning All-America honors for finishing fourth in the 100m and running on the fourth-place 4x100m relay. His six outdoor national championships are the third-most in NCAA history and he capped his career with 18 All-America certificates.
A fourth-straight title is certainly in the realm of possibility for Florida State next year. The Seminoles got 22 of their points from underclassmen, including long jumper Ngoni Makusha who won the event with a school-record leap of 8.30m/27-02.75. Classmate Gonzalo Barroilhet reset his own school record in the decathlon on his way to a third-place finish. Bolstering the team next year is one of the top signing classes in the country.