DALLAS (FWAA) – The Football Writers
Association of America, in conjunction with the
Allstate Sugar Bowl, announced eight finalists for the
2018 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on
Wednesday. Among the recognized coaches are five repeat finalists
from a year ago, a pair of previous winners, and each of the four
head coaches in the upcoming College Football Playoff.
alphabetical order the finalists are: Bill Clark,
UAB; Josh Heupel, UCF; Brian Kelly,
Notre Dame; Jeff Monken, Army; Lincoln
Riley, Oklahoma; Nick Saban, Alabama;
Dabo Swinney, Clemson; and Jeff Tedford,
"It is an outstanding group of coaches," said 2018 FWAA President
Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times. "Any one of the coaches would
make a great choice for our 2018 Coach of the Year. We believe all
these men demonstrate the coaching excellence that the award's namesake,
Eddie Robinson, showed on and off the field."
Notre Dame's Kelly and Alabama's Saban are the only former Eddie
Robinson Award winners in the group. The 2018 recipient will be
announced on Thursday, Dec. 13.
The official presentation reception will be on Jan. 5, 2019,
in San Jose, Calif., where the winning coach will be handed the
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year bust during a reception hosted
by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in conjunction with the College Football
Playoff National Championship.
"The Allstate Sugar Bowl is proud each year to recognize the
top college football coach in the nation while at the same time
honoring the great accomplishments of a Louisiana legend, Coach
Eddie Robinson," said Sugar Bowl Committee President Rod West. "And
we're excited to do so again this year when we present the award
to this year's winner in a ceremony prior to the National Championship
The eight finalists have been placed on a ballot which has been
sent to the entire FWAA membership. Ballots will be accepted through
5 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 7.
The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season
when Ohio State's Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. The
FWAA coaching award is named after the late Robinson, a coaching
legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.
The 2018 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalists:
Bill Clark, UAB: After the school's two-year
hiatus from football, Clark's Blazers posted an 8-4 record during
the 2017 regular season and followed that up with the Conference
USA title in 2018 paced by undefeated seasons at Legion Field both
years. Clark has built a roster from scratch and has recorded the
most victories in a UAB season. The Blazers (10-3), 10th nationally
in total defense, will meet Northern Illinois in the Cheribundi
Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl. Clark, who has won C-USA-high 13 league games
over the last two seasons, also was a finalist in 2017.
Josh Heupel, UCF: In his first season as a head
coach in Orlando, Heupel has fashioned a 12-0 record and has continued
what Scott Frost, last season's Eddie Robinson Award recipient,
started before leaving for Nebraska. The Knights have the longest
winning streak in the FBS at 25 games and will meet LSU in the PlayStation
Fiesta Bowl after winning the American Athletic Conference title.
The former Oklahoma quarterback, who was previously offensive coordinator
at Missouri, has the Knights ranked No. 8 in the College Football
Playoff's final rankings.
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: One of four coaches
on the list who has led his team to an unbeaten record (12-0) in
2018. Kelly claimed the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award in
2012 when the Fighting Irish were also 12-0 before losing to Alabama
in the Bowl Championship Series title game. Kelly was a finalist
for the award in 2009 when he was at Cincinnati. After posting a
4-8 record in 2016, Notre Dame has now won 22 of its last 25 games
and will face Clemson in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl in one College
Football Playoff semifinal.
Jeff Monken, Army: Riding a seven-game winning
streak, Army stands at 9-2 before its annual meeting against Navy
on Saturday in Philadelphia. The triple-option Black Knights, the
nation's No. 2 rushing team (303 ypg), will play in the Lockheed
Martin Armed Forces Bowl against Houston. Monken, also a finalist
in 2017, has seen his team drop games to only Duke and Oklahoma
this season. The Sooners had to go to overtime before prevailing,
28-21, in Norman and the Black Knights have not lost since.
Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma: The second-year head coach has taken the Sooners to back-to-back 12-1
seasons and College Football Playoff berths. Behind Heisman Trophy
hopeful quarterback Kyler Murray, the Sooners have one of college
football's all-time most prolific offenses. The Sooners, No. 4 in the College
Football Playoff's final rankings, defeated Texas in the Big 12
Championship Game and will face Alabama in a College Football Playoff
semifinal in the Capital One Orange Bowl. Riley was also a finalist
Nick Saban, Alabama: The Crimson Tide has been
the dominant team of the 2018 season and enters the College Football
Playoff as the top seed. The Southeastern Conference champions (13-0)
will seek to repeat as national champions and start that quest in
the Capital One Orange Bowl against Oklahoma. Saban, a five-time
finalist for this award, has done a masterful job of keeping a heavy
favorite on track despite a nagging injury to his star quarterback
Tua Tagovailoa, a Heisman Trophy favorite. While at Alabama, Saban
claimed the award in 2008 and also won the award in 2003 while at LSU.
Dabo Swinney, Clemson: Swinney has the Tigers
in the College Football Playoff for the fourth straight year with
a fourth straight Atlantic Coast Conference championship and a 13-0
record. Swinney is now a four-time finalist for the award (previously
in 2011, '15 and '17), but has never won it. The Tigers will face
Notre Dame in one semifinal the Goodyear Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29
in their first appearance in the Texas-based bowl since 1940. The
Tigers are the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff.
Jeff Tedford, Fresno State: In his second season
at his alma mater, Tedford took the Bulldogs (11-2) to the Mountain
West Conference championship with a 19-16 overtime victory at Boise
State. That victory, which avenged a previous loss to the Broncos
this season, earned Tedford's team a berth in the Mitsubishi Motors
Las Vegas Bowl against Arizona State. Tedford was also a finalist
last season when his Bulldogs made one of the top turnarounds in
college football. Fresno State's only other loss this season was
at Minnesota, 21-14.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself
as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted
28 national champions, 93 Hall of Fame players, 49 Hall of Fame
coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 84-year history. The
85th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, featuring the Big 12’s
Texas and Georgia from the SEC, will be played on January 1, 2019.
In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests
over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship
of sporting events, scholarships and clinics. Through these efforts,
the organization supports and honors nearly 100,000 student-athletes
each year and has injected over $2.5 billion into the local economy
over the last decade. For more information, visit AllstateSugarBowl.org.
The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National
College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses
college football's most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the
NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to
1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.
The Football Writers Association of America,
founded in 1941, consists of 1,300 men and women who cover college
football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and
publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve
the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations,
major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information
about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson
Eddie Robinson Award
• Eight finalists named for 2018 Eddie Robinson Award
• UAB's Clark wins 2018 Eddie Robinson Award
• Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award
| All-time winners