Football Writers Association of America Dec. 10, 2003
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
Five first-timers nominees among those lauded

DALLAS (FWAA) Six semifinalists for the 2003 Eddie Robinson/FWAA Coach of the Year Award were announced on Wednesday by the Football Writers Association of America.

Southern California's Pete Carroll, Navy's Paul Johnson, Tulsa's Steve Kragthorpe, Texas Christian's Gary Patterson, LSU's Nick Saban and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops were named semifinalists for the award whose winner will be named Jan. 8 in Phoenix.

The FWAA has presented a Coach of the Year Award since 1957 and annually selects the winner by a vote of its entire membership.

The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and America West Airlines sponsor the awards banquet.

Carroll's Pac-10 champion USC Trojans (11-1) will face Michigan in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. Because USC is ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll, it can lay claim to a national championship with a victory over the Wolverines.

Johnson has led Navy to an 8-4 mark and an appearance in the Houston Bowl in his second season at the Academy. The Midshipmen have enjoyed their first winning season since 1997 and they won the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the first time since 1981. Navy's postseason appearance is its first since the 1996 season.

Kragthorpe is in his first season at Tulsa. Going into the Humanitarian Bowl against Georgia Tech, Kragthorpe has fashioned an 8-4 record with Tulsa, which was 1-11 last season. His coaching job helped produce the biggest turnaround in Division I-A this season. And, the eight victories are the most at the school since 1991.

Patterson's Horned Frogs (11-1) were 10-0 and challenging for a spot in the BCS before losing their 11th game of the season against Southern Mississippi. Still, TCU will appear in its sixth straight bowl game when it faces Boise State in the first Fort Worth Bowl on Dec. 23.

Stoops' Sooners (12-1) and will meet Saban's SEC champion LSU team (12-1) in the Nokia Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4, 2004, in New Orleans. The winner of the Bowl Championship Series 1-2 game will grab at least a share of the national championship.

Stoops won the Eddie Robinson Award in 2000 when the Sooners compiled a 13-0 season and defeated Florida State in the FedEx Orange Bowl. Saban is a first-time semifinalist, as are the other four coaches.

The FWAA honors an outstanding coach each year in the name of Grambling State University's Eddie Robinson, the winningest Division I head coach in college football history.

The banquet also helps support the Eddie Robinson Foundation, which is based in Atlanta.