AFCA Announces its 2011 National Coach of the Year Winners

The American Football Coaches Association capped its 2012 convention by presenting its top coaching award — AFCA Coach of the Year — to five outstanding coaches today.

LSU’s Les Miles, Sam Houston State’s Willie Fritz, Wayne State’s Paul Winters, Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Lance Leipold and Saint Xavier’s Mike Feminis are the 2011 AFCA National Coach of the Year winners. Miles in FBS, Fritz in FCS, Winters in Division II, Leipold in Division III and Feminis 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.

Les Miles led LSU to a 14-0/13-1 record, the Southeastern Conference title and an appearance in the BCS National Championship game. He has a 104-38/103-39 overall record in his 11 years as head coach, with a BCS National Chapionship in 2007, two SEC titles and AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors in 2011. In his seven seasons as head coach for the Tigers, Miles has led LSU to six top 10 finishes and five/six bowl victories.

In 2011, Willie Fritz led the Bearkats to a 14-1 record, a Southland Conference title and an appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision national title game. In two years at Same Houston State, Fritz owns a 20-6 record and an overall record of 117-53 at both Sam Houston State and Central Missouri. The national title appearance is a first for the football program at the FCS level.

Paul Winters led the Warriors to a school record of 12 wins in 2011 and the program’s first appearance in the Division II national title game, earning him AFCA Division II Coach of the Year honors for the first time. With those 12 wins, Winters became the winningest head coach in Wayne State history with 48 wins in his eight years as head coach. He also earned AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors in 2010 after leading the Warriors to a then-school record nine wins, while also earning the most conference wins in one season with eight.

Lance Leipold led Wisconsin-Whitewater to a 15-0 record, its seventh consecutive Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship and its fourth NCAA Division III championship in 2011. Leipold also earned AFCA Coach of the Year honors in 2007, 2009 and 2010 when he led Whitewater to national titles in those seasons. Leipold has a five-year career record of 72-3 at Whitewater. The Warhawks have advanced to the Division III title game in each of Leipold’s first five seasons at the school.

Mike Feminis led the Cougars to a 14-1 record and the NAIA national championship this season to earn NAIA National Coach of the Year honors for the first time. The national title is the first for Saint Xavier in any sport. Feminis has an overall record of 116-41 in his 13 years as head coach at SXU. Feminis previously earned AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors in 2009.

The winners will be honored Tuesday evening at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

AFCF Grants
The full-time assistant coaches at the five schools represented by the AFCA National Coach of the Year winners will each receive a $1,000 grant from the American Football Coaches Foundation that can be used to further their education or professional development.

Award History
Lynn “Pappy” Waldorf, then of North­western, was named as the first AFCA Coach of the Year in 1935. One national winner was selected from 1935 through 1959. From 1960 through 1982, two national winners were selected — one representing the University Division and one from the College Division. From 1983-2005, four national winners were chosen. In 2006, the AFCA started honoring an NAIA Coach of the Year, giving us the five honorees we have today.
Prior to 2006, the NAIA was a part of the AFCA’s Division II membership category.

Oldest Award
The AFCA’s Coach of the Year award is the oldest of all Coach of the Year awards and is one of only two Coach of the Year awards recognized by the NCAA in Football Bowl Subdivision and the only Coach of the Year award recognized in the NCAA’s three other divisions. The NCAA does not select a “coach of the year” for college football. When a coach is referred to as “NCAA Coach of the Year,” he is usually the AFCA Coach of the Year winner.

All-Time Winners: A total of 149 men representing 107 institutions have been honored by the AFCA as AFCA National Coach of the Year since the program was established in 1935.

First Year Coach of the Year: Richmond’s Mike London and Valdosta State’s David Dean are the only coaches to earn AFCA National Coach of the Year honors in their first season as a head coach.  Dean was the Division II winner in 2007. London was the FCS winner in 2008.

Most Schools: Jim Tressel is the only coach to win AFCA National Coach of the Year honors at two different schools and the only to win the honor in two different divisions. Tressel earned AFCA honors at Division I-A Ohio State in 2002 and Division I-AA Youngstown State in 1991 and 1994.

Top Individuals: Larry Kehres of Mount Union is the only coach in AFCA history to win National Coach of the Year honors nine times. He has earned the award in Mount Union’s national championship seasons of 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2008. Joe Paterno of Penn State earned his Division I-A fifth National Coach of the Year Award in 2005 (1968-72-82-86). Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Lance Leipold (2007, 2009-10-11) joins Northwest Missouri State’s Mel Tjeerdsma (1998-99-2008-09) and Bob Reade of Augustana (Ill.) College as the only four-time AFCA Coach of the Year winners. Reade earned the honor in 1983-84-85-86 in College Division II (Now Division III). Carroll’s Mike Van Diest (2003, 2007, 2010), Sioux Falls’ Kalen DeBoer (2006, 2008-09), Appalachian State’s Jerry Moore (2005-06-07), Youngstown State and Ohio State coach Jim Tressel (1991-94-2003), Alabama’s Bear Bryant (1961-71-73) and North Alabama’s Bobby Wallace (1993-94-95) are the only three-time Coach of the Year winners. Moore, Wallace, Reade, Kehres and Leipold are the only coaches to win the award in three or more consecutive seasons.

Top Schools: Mount Union is the only institution to have a representative win the AFCA National Coach of the Year Award nine times. Georgia Southern, Penn State and Wisconsin-Whitewater are the only schools with five winners. Northwest Missouri State, Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, Augustana (Ill.), Grand Valley State, North Dakota State and Wittenberg are four-time winners.
Larry Kehres has won all nine awards for Mount Union, while Joe Paterno has won all five awards for Penn State. Paul Johnson (1999, 2000), Erk Russell (1986, 1989) and Tim Stowers (1990) are Georgia Southern’s honorees. Lance Leipold’s four honors and Bob Berezowitz’s 2005 National Coach of the Year award account for Wisconsin-Whitewater’s five honors. Mel Tjeerdsma accounts for all of Northwest Missouri’s awards. Lloyd Carr (1997), Fritz Crisler (1947), Bennie Oosterbaan (1948) and Bo Schembechler (1969) are Michigan’s winners. Bill Edwards (1962, 1963) and Dave Maurer (1973, 1975), his successor, are responsible for Wittenberg being listed in the select group. North Dakota State’s national winners are Don Morton (1983), Earle Solomonson (1986) and Rocky Hager (1988, 1990). Gene Stallings earned Coach of the Year honors in 1992 to join three-time winner Bear Bryant as Alabama’s winners. Augustana’s Reade accounts for all of his school’s awards. Ohio State’s Jim Tressel joins Carroll Widdoes (1944), Woody  Hayes (1957) and Earle Bruce (1979) as one of the four Buckeye coaches to win the award. Chuck Martin (2005-2006) joins Brian Kelly (2002-2003) as the winners from Grand Valley State.

Delaware (Tubby Raymond, 1971-72; K.C. Keeler, 2010), Appalachian State (Jerry More, 2005-06-07), USC (John McKay, 1962, 1972; Pete Carroll, 2003), Furman (Dick Sheridan, 1985; Jimmy Satterfield, 1988; Bobby Johnson, 2001), North Alabama (Bobby Wallace, 1993-94-95) and Sioux Falls (Kalen DeBoer 2006, 2008-09) are all in the exclusive group of schools having three winners each.

Two-Timers: Andy Talley, Chuck Martin, Brian Kelly, Paul Johnson, Bill Edwards, Dave Maurer, John McKay, Rocky Hager, Erk Russell, Darrell Royal, Texas (1963, 1970), Harold “Tubby” Raymond, Delaware, Joe Glenn, Northern Colorado (1996-97) and Jim Butterfield, Ithaca (1988, 1991) are the repeat winners.

Back-to-Back: Paul Johnson, Bill Edwards, Bob Reade, Tubby Raymond, Bobby Wallace, Joe Glenn, Larry Kehres, Mel Tjeerdsma, Brian Kelly, Jerry Moore, Chuck Martin, Kalen DeBoer and Lance Leipold are the only coaches to win national honors in consecutive years. No FBS coach has won the award in consecutive years. Kehres is the only coach to win three consecutive Coach of the Year awards twice, while Tjeerdsma is the only coach to win two consecutive Coach of the Year awards twice.

Fit to be Tied: In 2003, Brian Kelly and Mike Van Diest became the fourth duo in the history of the AFCA National Coach of the Year award to finish in a tie for the honor and the first non-I-A coaches to share the award. Larry Coker and Ralph Friedgen finished in a tie for the honor in 2001. In 1964, Frank Broyles of Arkansas and Ara Parseghian of Notre Dame shared the award and in 1970, Charlie McClendon of Louisiana State and Darrell Royal of Texas were co-winners.

Like Father, Like Son: Jim Tressel and his father, Lee, are the only father-son combination to win Coach of the Year honors in AFCA history. Lee Tressel was named College Division Coach of the Year in 1978 at Baldwin-Wallace.

AFCA Coach of the Year Bios

Football Bowl Subdivision
Les Miles, LSU
First AFCA National Coach of the Year Award ... Led the Tigers to a 14-0/13-1 record, the Southeastern Conference title and an appearance in the BCS National Championship game this season ... Has a 104-38/103-39 overall record in his 11 years as head coach at LSU and Oklahoma State, with a BCS National Chapionship in 2007, two SEC titles and SEC Coach of the Year honors in 2011 ... In 2007, led LSU to a 12-2 mark, an SEC title and the BCS National Championship ... His 76/75 wins at LSU since taking over the head coaching duties in 2005 are the most in the SEC during that span ... Led LSU to six/five bowl victories and six Top 10 finishes in the final polls in his seven years as head coach ... Earned an overall record of 28-21 in four years as head coach at Oklahoma State, leading the Cowboys to three bowl games.
Previous Regional Coach of the Year Honors: FBS, Region 2, 2011

Football Championship Subdivision
Willie Fritz, Sam Houston State University
First AFCA National Coach of the Year Award ... Led the Bearkats to a 14-1 record, a Southland Conference title and the program’s first appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision national championship game this season ... The 14 victories in 2011 are the most wins in one season in Sam Houston State history ... In two years at Sam Houston State, Fritz owns a 20-6 record and an overall record of 117-53 at both Sam Houston State and Central Missouri ... Earned a 97-47 overall record as head coach at Central Missouri for 13 years ... Head Coach at Blinn (Texas) College from 1993-96 with an overall record of 39-5-1 and two National Junior College Athletic Association national titles.
Previous Regional Coach of the Year Honors: FCS, Region 5, 2011

Division II
Paul Winters, Wayne State (Mich.) University
First AFCA National Coach of the Year Award ... Led the Warriors to a school record of 12 wins in 2011 and the program’s first appearance in the Division II national title game ... Winningest head coach in Wayne State history with 48 wins in his eight years as head coach ... earned AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors in 2010 after leading the Warriors to a then-school record nine wins, while also earning the most conference wins in one season with eight wins.
Previous Regional Coach of the Year Honors: Division II, Region 3, 2010

Division III
Lance Leipold, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Fourth AFCA National Coach of the Year Award ... Led the Warhawks to 15-0 record, its seventh consecutive Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship and its fourth NCAA Division III championship in the last five years this season ... Has a five-year career record of 72-3 at Whitewater ... Earned AFCA Coach of the Year honors in 2010 when he led the Warhawks to a 15-0 record, the WIAC title and the program’s third Division III national title ... Earned AFCA Coach of the Year honors in 2009 when he led the Warhawks to a 15-0 record, the WIAC title and the program’s second Division III national title ... Earned AFCA Coach of the Year honors in 2007 when he led Whitewater to a 14-1 record, the WIAC title and the school’s first NCAA Division III championship ... The Warhawks have advanced to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in each of Leipold’s first five seasons at the school.
Previous National Coach of the Year Honors: Division III, 2007, 2009, 2010

NAIA
Mike Feminis, Saint Xavier University
First AFCA National Coach of the Year Award ... Led the Cougars to a 14-1 record and the NAIA championship this season ... Has a 13-year career record of 116-41 at Saint Xavier ... The title is the first for Feminis in 13 seasons as head coach, and the first in any sport for Saint Xavier ... Earned AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors in 2009 when he led the Cougars to the program’s first undefeated regular season, the Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League championship and a trip to the NAIA semifinals for the second time in four years ... Saint Xavier has won or shared seven MSFA titles under Feminis, while he has been named MSFA Coach of the Year three times (2005, 2009 and 2010).
Previous Regional Coach of the Year Honors: NAIA, Region 4, 2009

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