AFCA Announces 2014 National Coaches of the Year

The American Football Coaches Association capped its 2015 convention by presenting its top coaching award — AFCA Coach of the Year — to five outstanding coaches.

TCU’s Gary Patterson, New Hampshire’s Sean McDonnell, Colorado State-Pueblo’s John Wristen, Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Lance Leipold and Marian’s Mark Henninger are the 2014 AFCA National Coach of the Year winners. Patterson in FBS, McDonnell in FCS, Wristen in Division II, Leipold in Division III and Henninger 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.

Gary Patterson led TCU to a 12-1 record, a share of the program’s first Big 12 Conference title and a victory in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. He has a 132-45 career-record in his 14 seasons as head coach at TCU, making him the winningest head coach in program history. Patterson has guided the Horned Frogs to six conference titles in three different leagues in his time as head coach, and has led the team to 11 victories or more in eight of the past 12 seasons. Patterson’s .746 winning percentage ranks fourth among active coaches nationally with a minimum of 10 years as head coach.

In 2014, Sean McDonnell led New Hampshire to a 12-2 record, a Colonial Athletic Association title and an appearance in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs. The 12 wins this season established new school records for most victories in a season, and most consecutive wins. McDonnell has led the Wilcats to 11 straight appearances in the FCS playoffs during his 16 years as head coach. He has won six Coach of the Year honors in 2014, including his fourth AFCA FCS Region 1 honor. McDonnell has a 126-73 overall record with three conference titles.

John Wristen completed his seventh season as the head coach at Colorado State-Pueblo, leading the ThunderWolves to a 14-1 record, a share of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) title and the Division II national championship. After starting the football program from scratch in 2008, Wristen has led his teams to four straight RMAC titles (2011-12-13-14) and a 48-4 record during that span. He has an overall record of 68-16, and was named National Coach of the Year in 2011 by American Football Monthly magazine, and AFCA Regional Coach of the Year that same year.

Lance Leipold led Wisconsin-Whitewater to a 15-0 record, a seventh Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship and its sixth NCAA Division III national title in 2014. He has an eight-year record of 109-6 at Whitewater. The Warhawks recorded their fifth 15-0 season under Leipold in 2014. He also earned AFCA Division III National Coach of the Year honors in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Mark Henninger led Marian to a 11-3 record, a share of the Mid-States Football Association Mideast League title and an appearance in the NAIA national championship game in 2014. He has a two-year record of 17-8 at Marian, and an overall record of 43-33 including his five years as head coach at North Carolina Wesleyan. Henninger guided the Battling Bishops to an 8-3 record, including a 7-0 conference mark, in his second season as head coach to earn USA South Conference Coach of the Year honors. He led North Carolina Wesleyan to two conference titles in 2009 and 2010, and one Division III playoff appearance.
The winners will be honored Tuesday evening at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner at the Kentucky International Convention Center.

All-Time Winners: A total of 158 men representing 113 institutions have been honored by the AFCA as 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 and Brian Kelly are the only coaches to win AFCA National Coach of the Year honors at two different schools, and 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. Kelly earned AFCA honors at Division II Grand Valley State in 2002 and 2003, and FBS Notre Dame in 2012.

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. Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Lance Leipold moves into second place with his sixth AFCA Division III Coach of the Year honor in 2014. Leipold won his other awards in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Penn State’s Joe Paterno sits third with five AFCA Coach of the Year honors. Paterno earned his awards in FBS in 1968, 1972, 1982, 1986 and 2005. Northwest Missouri State’s Mel Tjeerdsma (1998-99-2008-09) and Bob Reade of Augustana (Ill.) College are 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). Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly (2002-03, 2012), 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, 1994, 2003), Alabama’s Bear Bryant (1961, 1971, 1973) and North Alabama’s Bobby Wallace (1993-94-95) are the only three-time Coach of the Year winners. Kehres, Leipold, Moore, Reade and Wallace 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. Wisconsin-Whitewater is the only school with seven winners, while North Dakota State is the only school with six winners. Georgia Southern, Penn State and Northwest Missouri State are the only schools with five winners. Alabama, Augustana (Ill.), Grand Valley State, Michigan, Ohio 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. North Dakota State’s national winners are Don Morton (1983), Earle Solomonson (1986), Rocky Hager (1988, 1990) and Craig Bohl (2012, 2013). Lance Leipold’s six honors and Bob Berezowitz’s 2005 National Coach of the Year award account for Wisconsin-Whitewater’s seven honors. Mel Tjeerdsma’s four wins and Adam Dorrel’s 2013 National Coach of the Year award accounts for Northwest Missouri five 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. 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 (2005-06) joins Brian Kelly (2002-03) as the winners from Grand Valley State.
Appalachian State (Jerry Moore, 2005-06-07), Delaware (Tubby Raymond, 1971-72; K.C. Keeler, 2010), Furman (Dick Sheridan, 1985; Jimmy Satterfield, 1988; Bobby Johnson, 2001), North Alabama (Bobby Wallace, 1993-94-95), Notre Dame (Frank Leahy, 1941; Ara Parseghian, 1964; Brian Kelly, 2012), Sioux Falls (Kalen DeBoer 2006, 2008-09), USC (John McKay, 1962, 1972; Pete Carroll, 2003) and Valdosta State (Chris Hatcher, 2004; David Dean, 2007, 2012) are all in the exclusive group of schools having three winners each.

Two-Timers: Jim Butterfield, Ithaca (1988, 1991), David Dean, Bill Edwards, Joe Glenn, Northern Colorado (1996-97), Rocky Hager, Paul Johnson, Chuck Martin, Dave Maurer, John McKay, Gary Patterson, TCU (2009, 2014), Harold “Tubby” Raymond, Darrell Royal, Texas (1963, 1970), Erk Russell and Andy Talley, Villanova (1997, 2009) are the repeat winners.

Back-to-Back: Kalen DeBoer, Bill Edwards, Joe Glenn, Paul Johnson, Larry Kehres, Brian Kelly, Lance Leipold, Chuck Martin, Jerry Moore, Tubby Raymond, Bob Reade, Mel Tjeerdsma, Bobby Wallace and Craig Bohl 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. Leipold three-peated from 2009-11, and went back-to-back in 2013-14, making him the only coach to accomplish that feat.

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.

AFCA Coach of the Year Bios

Football Bowl Subdivision
Gary Patterson, TCU
Second AFCA FBS National Coach of the Year Award ... First FBS coach to win multiple AFCA Coach of the Year honors since Joe Paterno won his FBS-leading fifth award in 2005 ... Led TCU to a 12-1 record, a share of the program’s first Big 12 Conference title and a victory in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl ... Has a 132-45 career-record in his 14 seasons as head coach at TCU, making him the winningest head coach in program history ... Has guided the Horned Frogs to six conference titles in three different leagues in his time as head coach, and has led the team to 11 victories or more in eight of the past 12 seasons ... His .746 winning percentage ranks fourth among active coaches nationally with a minimum of 10 years as head coach.
Previous National Coach of the Year Honors: FBS, 2009
Previous Regional Coach of the Year Honors: FBS, Region 5, 2009; Region 4, 2014

Football Championship Subdivision
Sean McDonnell, University of New Hampshire
First AFCA FCS National Coach of the Year Award ... Led New Hampshire to a 12-2 record, a Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title and an appearance in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs in 2014 ... The semifinal appearance is the furthest New Hampshire has gone in the FCS playoffs under McDonnell ... The Wildcats had made it to the FCS quarterfinals in six previous seasons (2004-06, 2008-10) ... The 12 wins this season established new school records for most victories in a season, and most consecutive wins ... Has guided the Wilcats to 11 straight appearances in the FCS playoffs during his 16 years as head coach ... Has won six Coach of the Year honors in 2014, including his fourth AFCA FCS Region 1 honor ... Has a 126-73 overall record with three conference titles, two in the CAA and one Atlantic 10 title ... First coach at New Hampshire to win AFCA FCS Coach of the Year honors since Jim Root in 1968.
Previous Regional Coach of the Year Honors: FCS, Region 1, 2004, 2005, 2012, 2014

Division II
John Wristen, Colorado State University-Pueblo
First AFCA Division II National Coach of the Year Award ... Completed his seventh season as the head coach at Colorado State-Pueblo, leading the ThunderWolves to a 14-1 record, a share of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) title and the Division II national championship ... Has led his teams to four straight RMAC titles (2011-12-13-14) and a 48-4 record during that span ... Has an overall record of 68-16 ... Re-started program in 2008 after a 23-year layoff ... Was named National Coach of the Year in 2011 by American Football Monthly magazine after leading the ThunderWolves to an 11-1 record and an appearance in the Division II playoffs ... Guided CSU-Pueblo to three straight 11-0 regular seasons from 2011-13, the second program in Division II to ever do so ... Prior to returning to Pueblo, he spent 17 years as an assistant coach at Colorado, Northwestern and UCLA ... First coach at CSU-Pueblo to win AFCA Division II Coach of the Year honors.
Previous Regional Coach of the Year Honors: Division II, Region 5, 2011

Division III
Lance Leipold, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Sixth AFCA Division III National Coach of the Year Award, which is second all-time in AFCA history ... In eight years as head coach, Leipold has led the Warhawks to seven Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships and six NCAA Division III national titles ... Has a seven-year record of 109-6 at Wisconsin-Whitewater ... In 2014, guided the Warhawks to a 15-0 record, the fifth time in Leipold’s eight seasons that Whitewater has gone undefeated ... He became the fastest coach in NCAA history to win 100 games, achieving the mark in only 106 games ... Led program on a 46-game winning streak from 2009 until the second game of 2012, which is the fifth longest streak in NCAA football history, in any division ... Wisconsin-Whitewater is currently on a 30-game win streak through the 2013-14 seasons.
Previous National Coach of the Year Honors: Division III, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013

NAIA
Mark Henninger, Marian University
First AFCA NAIA National Coach of the Year Award ... Led Marian to a 11-3 record, a share of the Mid-States Football Association Mideast League title and an appearance in the NAIA national championship game ... Has a two-year record of 17-8 at Marian, and an overall record of 43-33 including his five years as head coach at North Carolina Wesleyan ... Led the Battling Bishops to an 8-3 record, including a 7-0 conference mark, in his second season as head coach to earn USA South Conference Coach of the Year honors ... Led North Carolina Wesleyan to two conference titles in 2009 and 2010, and one Division III playoff appearance ... First coach from Marian to win AFCA NAIA Coach of the Year honors.

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