AFCA’S 2008 National Coach of the Year Winners

The American Football Coaches Association capped its 2009 convention by presenting its top coaching award — AFCA Coach of the Year — to five outstanding coaches today.

Utah’s Kyle Whittingham, Richmond’s Mike London, Northwest Missouri State’s Mel Tjeerdsma, Mount Union’s Larry Kehres and Sioux Falls’ Kalen DeBoer are the 2008 AFCA National Coach of the Year winners. Whittingham in the FBS, London in the FCS, Tjeerdsma in Division II, Kehres in Division III and DeBoer in NAIA.

The winners are selected by a vote of the Active AFCA members (coaches at four-year schools) in the Association’s five divisions. The AFCA has named a Coach of the Year since 1935. The AFCA Coach of the Year award is the oldest and most prestigious of all the Coach of the Year awards and is the only one chosen exclusively by the coaches themselves.

Kyle Whittingham led the Utes to a 13-0 record, the Mountain West Conference title and a victory in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The 13-0 season is the best record in the 115-year history of Utah football. Utah owns the longest current bowl win streak in the nation at eight games and Whittingham has had a hand in all of them, with the last four wins coming as head coach.

Mike London led the Spiders to a 13-3 record and the Football Championship Subdivision national championship in his first year as a head coach in 2008. The national title was the first in any team sport at Richmond. London is the second, first-year head coach in as many years to earn National Coach of the Year honors from the AFCA. Valdosta State’s David Dean was a first-year head coach and rookie winner in Division II in 2007.

Mel Tjeerdsma led the Bearcats to a 13-2 record, the MIAA championship and a fourth consecutive berth in the NCAA Division II championship game in 2008 to earn AFCA National Coach of the Year honors for the third time in his career. He has a 25-year career record of 216-78-4 (.731) at Northwest Missouri State and Austin. Tjeerdsma is the career postseason wins leader in Division II football. He earned back-to-back AFCA National Coach of the Year Awards in 1998 and 1999.

Larry Kehres led Mount Union to a 15-0 record, its 17th consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference championship and 10th NCAA Division III championship this season. This year’s honor extends Kehres’ AFCA record to nine AFCA National Coach of the Year awards. No other coach has won more than five. Kehres has a 24-year career record of 275-21-3 (.924) at Mount Union, including a 125-4 (.969) mark since 2000.

Kalen DeBoer led the Cougars to a 14-0 record, the Great Plains Athletic Conference title and the NAIA championship this season to earn NAIA National Coach of the Year honors for the second time. The title is the second for DeBoer in four seasons as head coach. USF has reached the NAIA final three times in DeBoer’s four seasons at the helm. He has a four-year career record of 52-3 (.945). DeBoer previously earned AFCA National Coach of the Year honors in 2006.

 

AFCA Coach of the Year Bios

Football Bowl Subdivision
Kyle Whittingham, University of Utah: First AFCA National Coach of the Year Award ... Led the Utes to a 13-0 record and a victory in the Allstate Sugar Bowl ... Has a four-year career record of 37-14 (.725) at Utah ... The 13-0 season is the best record in the 115-year history of Utah football ... Utah owns the longest current bowl win streak in the nation at eight games and Whittingham has had a hand in all of them. Prior to assuming the head coaching duties in 2005, Whittingham was the Ute defensive coordinator for bowl wins over Fresno State (1999), USC (2001) and Southern Miss (2003) ... Utah’s No. 4 final ranking in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll is the highest Coaches’ Poll ranking in school history ... Served as co-head coach in Utah’s 12-0 season and Fiesta Bowl win over Pittsburgh in 2004.

Football Championship Subdivision
MikeLondon, University of Richmond: First AFCA National Coach of the Year Award ... Led the Spiders to a 13-3 record and the Football Championship Subdivision national championship in his first year as a head coach ... The national title was the first in any team sport at Richmond ... London is the second first-year head coach in as many years to earn National Coach of the Year honors from the AFCA. Valdosta State’s David Dean was a first-year head coach and rookie winner in Division II in 2007 ... London is the first Richmond alum to lead the football program in 43 years.

Division II
Mel Tjeerdsma, Northwest Missouri State University: Third AFCA National Coach of the Year Award ... Led the Bearcats to a 13-2 record, the MIAA championship and a fourth consecutive berth in the NCAA Division II championship game in 2008 ... Has a 25-year career record of 216-78-4 (.731) at Northwest Missouri State and Austin ... Tjeerdsma is the career postseason wins leader in Division II football ... He earned back-to-back AFCA National Coach of the Year Awards in 1998 and 1999 when he led Northwest Missouri State to consecutive Division II national championships ... Earned Regional Coach of the Year honors for the seventh time this season.
Previous Regional Coach of the Year Honors: Division II Region 4, 1996-97-98-99-00-06-08
Previous National Coach of the Year Honors: Division II, 1998-99

Division III
Larry Kehres, Mount Union College: Ninth AFCA National Coach of the Year Award ... First coach to win nine National Coach of the Year Awards ... Led Mount Union to a 15-0 record, its 17th consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference championship and 10th NCAA Division III championship this season ... Mount Union set an NCAA all-division record with 54 consecutive wins from 1996-1999 ... The OAC title is the 19th overall under Kehres ... Mount Union is 245-11-1 (.956) since 1990 and  has posted 17 undefeated regular seasons ... Career record is 275-21-3 (.924) in 23 seasons at Mount Union ... Has a 61-2 playoff record and 192-8-3 OAC record ... Mount Union is 125-4 overall since 2000 ... Only coach in AFCA history to win National Coach of the Year honors three years in a row, two times (1996-97-98 & 2000-01-02) ... Led Mount Union to NCAA titles in 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2006 prior to this year.
Previous AFCA Regional Coach of the Year Honors: College II Region 4 1986-90-92-93;
                                  AFCA Division III Region 4 1996-97-99-2000-01-02-06-07-08
Previous AFCA National Coach of the Year Honors: College II, 1993; AFCA Division III, 1996-97-98-2000-01-02-06-08

NAIA
Kalen DeBoer, University of Sioux Falls: Second AFCA National Coach of the Year Award ... Led the Cougars to a 14-0 record, the Great Plains Athletic Conference title and the NAIA championship this season ... Title is the second in four seasons as head coach ... USF has reached the NAIA final three times in DeBoer’s four seasons as head coach ... Earned AFCA National Coach of the Year honors in 2006 when he led the Cougars to a 14-0 record, the Great Plains Athletic Conference title and the NAIA championship ... Has a four-year career record of 52-3 (.945) with four GPAC titles and four NAIA playoff appearances ... Was an All-America wide receiver on USF’s 1996 NAIA championship squad and the offensive coordinator on the school’s 2001 NAIA runner-up team.
Previous AFCA Regional Coach of the Year Honors: Region 4 NAIA, 2006-07
Previous National Coach of the Year Honors: NAIA, 2006

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