2008 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year Winners

First time winners Brady Hoke of Ball State and Henry Frazier of Prairie View A&M and seven-time winner Mel Tjeerdsma of Northwest Missouri State highlight today’s announcement of the American Football Coaches Association’s 2008 Regional Coach of the Year winners.

The AFCA recognizes five regional Coach of the Year winners in each of the Association’s five divisions: Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA.

The winners are selected by Active members of the Association who vote for coaches in their respective regions and divisions.

The Winners: Ball State’s Brady Hoke is the Football Bowl Subdivision Region 3 winner this year. Hoke led the Cardinals to a 12-1 record, the MAC Western Division title and a berth in the MAC championship game this season.

Prairie View’s Henry Frazier is the Football Championship Subdivision Region 3 winner this year. Frazier led the Panthers to a 9-1 record this season. The nine wins are the most for the program since 1964.

Northwest Missouri State’s Mel Tjeerdsma earned his seventh Regional Coach of the Year award, this time in Division II Region 3. Tjeerdsma has led the Bearcats to a 13-1 record, the MIAA titile and a berth in the NCAA Division II championship game this season.

Joining Hoke as winners in Football Bowl Subdivision are Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly (Region 1), Mississippi’s Houston Nutt (Region 2), Texas Tech’s Mike Leach (Region 4) and Oregon State’s Mike Riley (Region 5).

Joining Frazier in the Football Championship Subdivision are Villanova’s Andy Talley (Region 1); Appalachian State’s Jerry Moore (Region 2); Southern Illinois’ Dale Lennon (Region 4) and Central Arkansas’ Clint Conque (Region 5).

Joining Tjeerdsma as winners in Division II are California’s (Pa.) John Luckhardt and Bloomsburg’s Danny Hale (Region 1-tie), Tusculum’s Frankie DeBusk (Region 2); Abilene Christian’s Chris Thomsen (Region 4) and Wayne State’s (Neb.) Dan McLaughlin (Region 5).

In Division III, the winners are Ithaca’s Mike Welch (Region 1); Case Western’s Greg Debeljak (Region 2); Hardin-Simmons’ Jimmie Keeling (Region 3) Mount Union’s Larry Kehres and Trine’s Matt Land (Region 4-tie), and Willamette’s Mark Speckman (Region 5).

In NAIA, the winners are Cumberlands’ (Ky.) John Bland and Shorter’s Phil Jones (Region 1-tie); St. Francis’ (Ind.) Kevin Donley (Region 2); MidAmerica Nazarene’s Jed Stugart (Region 3); Dickinson State’s Hank Biesiot (Region 4) and Carroll’s (Mont.) Mike Van Diest (Region 5).

The 2008 Regional Coach of the Year winners will be recognized at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner at the 2009 AFCA Convention in Nasahville, Tenn. The dinner is scheduled for January 13.

2008 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year Winners

Football Bowl Subdivision
Region 1: Brian Kelly, University of Cincinnati
Region 2: Houston Nutt, University of Mississippi
Region 3: Brady Hoke, Ball State University
Region 4: Mike Leach, Texas Tech University
Region 5: Mike Riley, Oregon State University

Football Championship Subdivision
Region 1: Andy Talley, Villanova University
Region 2: Jerry Moore, Appalachian State University
Region 3: Henry Frazier, Prairie View A&M University
Region 4: Dale Lennon, Southern Illinois University
Region 5: Clint Conque, University of Central Arkansas

Division II
Region 1: Danny Hale, Bloomsburg University &
        John Luckhardt, California University (Pa.) (tie)
Region 2: Frankie DeBusk, Tusculum College
Region 3: Mel Tjeerdsma, Northwest Missouri State University
Region 4: Chris Thomsen, Abilene Christian University
Region 5: Dan McLaughlin, Wayne State College (Neb.)

Division III
Region 1: Mike Welch, Ithaca College
Region 2: Greg Debeljak, Case Western Reserve University
Region 3: Jimmie Keeling, Hardin-Simmons University
Region 4: Larry Kehres, Mount Union College &
    Matt Land, Trine University (tie)
Region 5: Mark Speckman, Willamette University

NAIA
Region 1: John Bland, University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) &
    Phil Jones, Shorter College (tie)
Region 2: Kevin Donley, University of St. Francis (Ind.)
Region 3: Jed Stugart, MidAmerica Nazarene University
Region 4: Hank Biesiot, Dickinson State University
Region 5: Mike Van Diest, Carroll College (Mont.)

Repeat Winners: Caliornia’s (Pa.) John Luckhardt, Mount Union’s Larry Kehres and Carroll’s Mike Van Diest are the only repeat winners from 2007. Kehres extends his record District/Regional total to 13. Luckhardt won for the fifth time and Van Diest won for the second time.

Multiple Winners: Other multiple winners in the 2008 class are Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly (third), Mississippi’s Houston Nutt (fifth), Villanova’s Andy Talley (fourth), Appalachian State’s Jerry Moore (fifth), Southern Illinois’ Dale Lennon (second), Bloomsburg’s Danny Hale (tenth), Northwest Missouri State’s Mel Tjeerdsma (seventh), Hardin-Simmons’ Jimmie Keeling (third), Carroll’s Mike Van Diest (second).

First Time Schools: Eleven coaches earned the first AFCA Regional Coach of the Year Award for their school in 2008: Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly, Prairie View’s Henry Frazier, Central Arkansas’ Clint Conque, Tusculum’s Frankie DeBusk, Wayne State’s (Neb.) Dan McLaughlin, Case Western’s Greg Debeljak, Trine’s Matt Land, Cumberlands’ (Ky.) John Bland, Shorter’s Phil Jones, St. Francis’ (Ind.) Kevin Donley and Dickinson State’s Hank Biesiot.

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