15 FCS coaches finalists for Eddie Robinson Award
By CRAIG HALEY
(STATS) - The 30th anniversary season of the Eddie Robinson Award features 15 finalists for FCS Coach of the Year.
The list includes at least one representative from all 13 FCS conferences. STATS will present the esteemed Robinson Award at the national awards banquet on the eve of the NCAA Division I FCS Championship Game on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas.
Named for the legendary coach of Grambling State, past winners of the Robinson Award include Mark Duffner, Erk Russell, Chris Ault, Jim Tressel, Houston Nutt, Andy Talley, Paul Johnson, Joe Glenn, Jerry Kill, Jerry Moore and two-time winners Mickey Matthews, Craig Bohl and Sean McDonnell.
The 15 finalists for 2016:
Brian Bohannon, Kennesaw State - In the program's second season of existence, the Owls are 8-2 with a chance to earn a share of the Big South Conference title.
Rod Broadway, North Carolina A&T - The Aggies are 9-1, having beaten an FBS opponent (Kent State) for the first time, and tied for first place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Steve Campbell, Central Arkansas - With the Bears off to a 9-1 record, including a win over an FBS opponent (Arkansas State), they are tied for first place in the Southland Conference.
Andy Coen, Lehigh - After opening with two close losses, the Mountain Hawks have won eight straight games to claim their first Patriot League title and FCS playoff bid since 2011.
Broderick Fobbs, Grambling State - The Tigers are 7-1, with only a loss to Arizona, and have beaten Southwestern Athletic Conference opponents by an average of 35 points.
Mike Houston, James Madison - In his first season at JMU, the Dukes are 9-1, with only a loss to North Carolina, and have clinched their first outright CAA Football championship since 2008.
K.C. Keeler, Sam Houston State - The 10-0 Bearkats are top-ranked in the STATS FCS Top 25 and are set to play for the Southland Conference title and an unbeaten regular season.
Chris Klieman, North Dakota State - The five-time defending FCS champion Bison are 9-1, including an FBS win over Iowa, as they seek at least a share of a sixth straight Missouri Valley Football Conference title.
Dale Lindsey, San Diego - The 8-1 Toreros have clinched an FCS playoff bid with their third straight Pioneer Football League title, and fifth in six years.
Jerry Mack, North Carolina Central - An eight-game winning streak after two FBS losses has put the Eagles in position to play for a third straight MEAC championship and a first Celebration Bowl appearance.
Bubba Schwiegert, North Dakota - After two close losses, the Fighting Hawks ended the regular season with nine consecutive wins and a perfect run to the Big Sky Conference championship.
Jason Simpson, UT Martin - After losing 13 starters, the Skyhawks are 7-4, with three losses against FBS opponents, and have an opportunity to claim a share of the Ohio Valley Conference title.
Bob Surace, Princeton - The 7-2 Tigers are tied for first place in the Ivy League, needing one more win to claim at least a share of their second title in four years.
Brent Thompson, The Citadel - In his first season as a head coach, Thompson has guided the Bulldogs to their first 10-0 start and an outright Southern Conference championship.
Chris Villarrial, Saint Francis - Having turned around the Red Flash in recent seasons, Villarrial has led them to their first Northeast Conference title and FCS playoff bid.
A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the STATS FCS Eddie Robinson Award following the regular season. Also this season, STATS will present the Walter Payton Award (FCS offensive player of the year), the Buck Buchanan Award (FCS defensive player of the year), the Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman player of the year) and the Doris Robinson FCS Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Updated November 15, 2016