Dec. 9, 2013
DALLAS - Baylor football head coach Art Briles was named one of eight finalists for the 2013 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) announced on Monday in conjunction with the Fiesta Bowl.
Joining Briles on the list of finalists are: David Cutcliffe (Duke), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Jimbo Fisher (Florida State), Gus Malzahn (Auburn), George O'Leary (UCF), Gary Pinkel (Missouri) and David Shaw (Stanford). The winner will be announced on Mon., Dec. 16, and the official presentation reception will be on Sat., Jan. 4, in Newport Beach, Calif.
Briles, who was a finalist for the award as head coach of Houston in 2006, has led Baylor to unprecedented success in 2013. The Bears won their first-ever Big 12 title - the program's first conference title since 1994 (Southwest Conference) and first outright title since 1980 (Southwest Conference) - and earned a trip to their first-ever BCS bowl game as they face UCF in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1. Briles is looking to be Baylor's second coach to win the award as Grant Teaff captured the honor in 1974.
Along the way in 2013, BU has compiled school records of 11 overall wins (11-1) and eight (8-1) wins in Big 12 play while scoring the most points (639) and touchdowns (85) in program history. The Bears set new program marks for weeks and consecutive weeks being ranked in the AP Top 25 (15) and AP Top 10 (8) en route to garnering their school-record fourth straight bowl game appearance.
Briles' Bears feature the nation's best offense, which averages 53.3 points per game and 624.5 yards per contest, and a stingy defense, which ranks in the top 20 nationally in both total defense (17th, 344.0 ypg) and scoring (19th, 21.2 ppg).
The FWAA has honored a major college coach with its coach of the Year award since the 1957 season when Ohio State's Woody Hayes claimed the honor. Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University, has been the FWAA's coaching namesake since the 1997 season. The Fiesta Bowl joined with the FWAA a year later as the sponsor of the award.
Robinson, who passed away on April 3, 2007, won 70.7 percent of his games during his illustrious career. Robinson's teams won or tied for 17 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships after joining the league in 1959. His Tigers claimed nine Black College Football Championships during his career spent all at the same school.
For more information about the award or FWAA, visit http://www.sportswriters.net/fwaa/index.html.