TEMPE, Ariz. (FWAA) – Illinois' Ron Turner, Maryland's
Ralph Friedgen and Washington State's Mike Price were named
as finalists for the 2001 FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.
From those finalists, the winner will be announced on Jan. 10 in Scottsdale,
Ariz., on Fox Sports Net at the America West Airlines Eddie Robinson Coach
of the Year Banquet. FWAA members will begin voting for the Coach of the
Year Award in mid December. The balloting will conclude on Jan. 4, the day
after the Rose Bowl game.
The FWAA Award is named after the legendary Robinson, who has won more
games than any coach in college football history – all at Grambling State
University. The FWAA has presented a Coach of the Year Award since 1957.
Price could become be the seventh coach to win the FWAA Coach of the Year
at least twice. He also won the award in 1997.
Other repeat winners: Ohio State's Woody Hayes (1957, 1968, 1975), Texas'
Darrell Royal (1961, 1963), USC's John McKay (1962, 1972), Pittburgh's Johnny
Majors (1973, 1976), Arkansas' and Notre Dame's Lou Holtz (1977, 1988) and
Penn State's Joe Paterno (1978, 1982, 1986).
Now in his 13th year at Washington State, Price is the dean of Pac-10
football coaches. Only five Division I-A coaches have been at their schools
During the 2001 season, the Cougars tied for second-place in the Pac-10
and finished with a 9-2 record. Washington State was picked to finish near
the bottom of the league after an eighth-place finish in 2000. But despite
the great improvement this season, Price is no stranger to success. He is
the only Cougar coach in the 100-plus years of the program to coach WSU
to four bowl games: the 1992 Copper Bowl, the 1994 Alamo Bowl, the 1998
Rose Bowl and now the 2001 Sun Bowl.
Price coached the Cougars to their most successful gridiron season in
67 years in 1997 (10-1). The resulting honors included Pacific-10 Conference
and numerous national coach-of-the-year awards, including the Eddie Robinson.
During his 13-year WSU career, Price has coached four Cougars picked
in the first round of the NFL's spring draft. The first was Steve Broussard,
the 20th pick in 1990. In 1992, New England made Cougar quarterback Drew
Bledsoe the top pick in the draft, while in 1994 linebacker Mark Fields
was the 15th player selected. In the spring of 1998, Ryan Leaf joined the
list of first rounders when he was selected the second pick of the NFL draft
by San Diego.
Friedgen led Maryland to its first Atlantic Coast Conference title in
16 years during the 2001 season. In his first year as a head coach, Friedgen
guided his alma mater to a 10-1 record and gained a berth in the Orange
Bowl against Florida. The Terrapins reached 10 victories for only the fifth
time in school history.
"Coach Friedgen has made extraordinary progress and is fully committed
to continue to build Maryland football into a perennial Top 20 program,"
Maryland athletic director Deborah Yow said. "There could be no better fit
for our institution."
Friedgen was an assistant for 29 years before he became coach of the
Terrapins a year ago. He came to Maryland from Georgia Tech where he served
for four years as the offensive coordinator under George O'Leary.
"I came back to Maryland a year ago with a vision for this program, and
I am anxious to see the plan through," said Friedgen, who served as Bobby
Ross' offensive coordinator at Maryland from 1982-86.
Turner has turned an 0-11 team into a 10-1 team and winner of the 2001
Big Ten Championship. He has completed that task in five years. The undisputed
Big Ten title – Illinois' first in 18 years – landed the Illini in the Sugar
Bowl against LSU. It is the Illini's first-ever berth in the Bowl Championship
Series and only fourth season with 10 or more victories.
When Turner took over the Illini in 1997, they lost all 11 games in his
first season. Illinois won only three the next season, but has bounced back
with 23 victories in the past three seasons. Turner's 2001 Illini possess
the highest scoring offense in school history, averaging 32.4 points per
contest. During the last three seasons the Illinois offenses have ranked
among the school's best. Turner, brother of NFL coach Norv Turner, is known
for developing quarterbacks, including the architect of this team's success,
• FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of
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