|PHOENIX (FWAA) – Louisiana State coach Nick Saban, whose Tigers claimed a share of the 2003 national championship, was named the winner of the 2003 FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on Thursday night.
Saban, Texas Christian’s Gary Patterson and Navy’s Paul Johnson attended the banquet, which is sponsored by the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and America West Airlines.
Other coaches considered for the award were Southern California’s Pete Carroll, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops and Tulsa’s Steve Kragthorpe.
Saban’s Tigers (13-1) won the Southeastern Conference title and then defeated Oklahoma, 21-14, in the Nokia Sugar Bowl to claim the Bowl Championship Series national championship.
Saban is a first time winner of the FWAA award and only the second LSU coach to win it. In 1958, LSU coach Paul Dietzel won the FWAA award in the second year of its existence.
The FWAA has presented a Coach of the Year Award since 1957 and annually selects the winner by a vote of its entire membership.
Stoops won the FWAA award in 2000 when the Sooners compiled a 13-0 season by defeating Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
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.