NEW YORK (FWAA) Oregon coach Chip Kelly has been named the winner of the 2010 FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, becoming the first Pacific 10 Conference coach to win the award since 1997.
The Eddie Robinson Award, which is sponsored by the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, was highlighted during a reception Monday afternoon at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel where Kelly accepted the trophy. The entire FWAA membership votes on the association's Coach of the Year Award, which was narrowed to eight finalists in late November. The last Pac-10 coach to win the award was Mike Price, then coach at Washington State.
Kelly, in his second season at Oregon, becomes the second Ducks coach to win the FWAA award after Rich Brooks in 1994. This season's unbeaten Oregon team (12-0) is headed to play unbeaten Auburn (13-0) in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 10 in Glendale, Ariz.
Kelly's high-octane offense at Oregon has dominated the Pacific-10 Conference in its final season before expanding to become the Pac-12 next year. The Ducks lead the country in scoring with 49.3 points per game and are second in total offense with 537.50 yards per game. Their only close game was a 15-13 thriller at California on Nov. 13.
"It is really an honor for me to stand here and represent our university in winning awards like this," Kelly said. "It is pretty humbling to have your name and Eddie Robinson's said in the same sentence. It is kind of funny, to keep it in perspective, if I won 10 games for the next 38 years, I would still be six wins short of Eddie Robinson. So, he was quite a man and really one of the true gentlemen of college football.
"Obviously, what this means to us and our university, I really can't put into words. But I also have always felt every coach of the year award is more a representation of your team. This award is shared with our great assistant coaches and with a bunch of young man back in Eugene, Oregon, who are truly special."
The FWAA has honored a major-college coach with its Coach of the Year Award since 1957. In 1997, the FWAA coaching award was named after Eddie Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 years. The late "Coach Rob" is the winningest coach in Division I history (408 games) and the move to present this award in New York City is a natural. The Grambling Tigers, whom Robinson coached from 1941-97, played numerous regular-season games at Yankee Stadium starting in the late 1960s and into the 1970s and later at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.
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.
Robinson, who was named by the FWAA in 1966 as "The Coach Who Made the Biggest Contribution to College Football in the Past 25 Years," often took his show on the road to places such as the Louisiana Superdome, the Cotton Bowl, the Astrodome, Tiger Stadium and aforementioned Yankee Stadium. And, with his star-studded array of players, Robinson helped integrate professional football.
In 1975, with one of his greatest teams quarterback by eventual All-Pro Doug Williams, Robinson's Grambling team and Alcorn State became the first college teams to play a game in the Louisiana Superdome. The next season, Robinson's Tigers, along with Morgan State became the first American college football teams to play in Japan.
In 1949, Grambling standout Tank Younger was the first player from a Historically Black College to sign with an NFL Team (Los Angeles Rams). By 1963, Buck Buchanan became the first player from a Historically Black College to be selected first overall in the professional draft (American Football League by the Kansas City Chiefs). Over the years, Robinson produced a Who's Who of professional football players, with more than 200 of his former players on professional rosters.
A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Robinson has the keys to cities all over the planet, has been awarded in every form and fashion and has honorary degrees from many schools. Last February, the Eddie Robinson Museum was opened in his honor in Grambling, La., where numerous memorabilia now reside, including a bust of the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization
founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football
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The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game's predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information, visit the association's official Web site, ncfaa.org.
The Fiesta Bowl is a non-profit organization founded by Arizona community leaders in 1971. Through the creation of the Festival of College Football, which is inclusive of more than 40 statewide events, the annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and the Insight Bowl, the organization continues to promote volunteerism, athletic achievement and higher education. Its mission is to remain a source of pride for all Arizonans by contributing strongly to the state's economic development, tourism and community causes.