Wednesday, February 2, 2011

FBS and FCS Bilo Coaches of the Year

Here is my list for our All-Bilo Coach of the Year awards for every conference in the FBS and FCS. Congratulations to tall of these coaches for having incredible seasons!

Ralph Friedgen, Maryland
All Friedgen did was take a 2-10 team and turn it into a 9-4 bowl winner. He also did it while coaching a young QB, and a team that wasn't exactly loaded with top tier talent. He got fired for his trouble.

Big East
Doug Marrone, Syracuse
I have to tell you that I was not jumping up and down when the Orangemen made this hire, but the move looks positively genius now. 8 wins was a huge accomplishment, and a bowl win (even if it was won because of an errant salute) was amazing considering where this program has been.

Big 10
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
You all expected Ohio State and Wisconsin to have great seasons. We expected the Spartans to be solid, but I never dreamt of an 11 win season in East Lansing. And Dantonio had a mild heart attack during the season to boot. Tough break in the bowl game, but MSU is a player in the Big 10 for a while to come.

Big 12
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
Gundy was one win away from taking the Cowboys to the Big 12 title game, and that was not supposed to happen this season. Imagine how close OSU got, and consider that no matter how good they are, they always seem to get stepchild status in the Big 12 South. With what Gundy has built, OSU very well could win the Big 12 in 2011.

Conference USA
George O'Leary, Central Florida
There is no doubt that UCF is a power broker in CUSA. Sure, the Knights got handed a break when Case Keenum went down for Houston, but they made the most of it and were by far the best team in the conference.

Mid-American Conference
Mike Haywood, Miami (Ohio) and Tim Beckman, Toledo
What Haywood did before he got all WWE on his ex was nothing short of incredible. The Redhawks were a miserable 2-10 last season, and won 10 games this season. He left for Pitt but was fired after the domestic abuse arrest bit him in the ass.
Beckman was equally as impressive, even if he didn't win as many games. Toledo won 8 games in 2010, and that puts the flailing Rockets back on the map. Beckman won't be at Toledo long at this pace.

Mountain West
Gary Patterson, TCU
One could argue that Brady Hoke deserved to share the award for turning San Diego State around, and that would be a solid argument, but my God, look at what Patterson has built. Great coach, great program, and amazing run in 2010. Also one of the coolest guys that I have ever met in the coaching business.

Chip Kelly, Oregon
Kelly has built Oregon into a long term power in this conference, and it will be a while before anyone catches up. The Ducks became a machine until the inexplicable collapse in the BCS title game. Oregon may very well get to rectofy that disaster in 2011.

Gene Chizik, Auburn
It kills me to award this one due to the Cam Newton thing, but he did go 14-0, and nobody else really qualifies as much as Chizik. Hats off.

Sun Belt
Mario Christobal, FIU
Christobal spent a healthy part of the early season on my Dead Pool or Hot Seat lists, but every week from October on, he dug his way out of the grave and somehow stole the conference reins from Troy. If he repeats the process, minus the heinous September, he may be moving on very soon. You know Miami was tempted.

Chris Ault, Nevada
All the Wolfpack did in 2010 was supplant Boise State as the conference champ. That's all, no big deal. The Wolfpack became a national force in 2010, and Ault's Pistol has become all the rage. Nobody runs it like Ault, though.

Rich Ellerson, Army
Does anyone know how difficult it is to win and go bowling at West Point? Ellerson finally did it, and is doing it the right way with Army. Strong coach with a great pedigree, he gets the West Point way of doing things.

Big Sky
Rob Ashe, Montana State
Eastern Washington may have made it to the FCS title game, but Montana State handed them one of their losses, and Ashe led the way in taking the top spot away from the hated Montana Grizzlies. Huge season in Bozeman is a sign of things to come.

Big South
Danny Rocco, Liberty
A tough loss to Coastal Carolina late in the season cost the Flames a conference title and playoff birth, but that does not discount the many successes had on the field in 2010. Rocco came up for a few bigger jobs after the season, and is definately on the radar.

Colonial Athletic
KC Keeler, Delaware
Keeler didn't let a tough loss to William & Mary dampen his teams spirits, and the Hens rode his strong leadership all the way to the title game, where they blew a huge lead and lost to Eastern Washington. Despite that loss, Keeler is one of the bright stars in the FCS coaching ranks, and was considered heavily for the vacant UConn job.

Great West
Ed Lamb, Southern Utah
Lamb produced an offense as potent as any in the country with the Thunderbirds, and he drove SUU to a Great West title, while also helping to secure membership to the Big Sky in 2012. Lamb has secured a contract extension to stay at SUU, so the future looks very bright indeed.

Ivy League
Al Bagnoli, Penn
The Quakers were an unstoppable force in the Ivy League this season, and Bagnoli's program is one of the best in the east. Penn went 9-1 and won the League by 2 games in 2010.

Brian Jenkins, Bethune-Cookman
Jenkins coached the Wildcats to their best season every this year, and what was even better was he got the Wildcats into the FCS playoffs, always a huge feat for a team from the MEAC. Jenkins is a rising star, and smart programs from bigger conferences should take notice.

Missouri Valley Conference
Mark Farley, Northern Iowa
The Panther looked down and out early, but Coach Farley never let UNI give up, and the Panthers were rewarded with the conference title in 2010. Farley has built a consistent winner at UNI, and the future looks bright under his leadership.

Northeast Conference
Joe Walton, Robert Morris
Walton is already a legend at RMU, and this season, he continued his dominating ways by leading the Colonials to the FCS playoffs and a tie for the conference title. Walton is a winner, and the Colonials have prospered from their years with him at the helm. This season was no different.

Ohio Valley Conference
Tony Samuel, Southeast Missouri State
If you thought that Samuel crawled away and died after failing at New Mexico State, think again. Samuel built a force at SEMS this season with Henry Harris leading the charge. Continued success at this level ensures Samuel a future back in the FBS ranks.

Patriot League
Andy Coen, Lehigh
The Mountain Hawks cruised to the Patriot title in 2010, and they even won a road game against Northern Iowa in the FCS playoffs. Coen's 201 Lehigh team was one of the best in the nation, and crushed their competition in this league. It always helps when you beat Lafayette as well.

Pioneer Football League
Kerwin Bell, Jacksonville
The former Gator QB and current Dolphin Head Coach has turned JU into a monster. JU was probably the most jilted team in the nation, as they went 10-1 overall and 8-0 in league play and were still denied a shot to participate in the FCS playoffs. Never mond that issue for now, as Bell is one hell of a coach and a star on the rise.

Southern Conference
Jerry Moore, Appalchian State
You could have counted Moore out this season, as ASU was in what should have been a rebuilding season, but Moore never rebuilds, he just reloads (cliche, I know, but it applies). It never stops short of amazing me as to how much he has built this program, and how he has become one of the most respected coaches in the FCS.

Southland Conference
JC Harper, Stephen F. Austin
Who else could it be in 2010. SFA was the best program in the Southland, and Jeremy Moses was the best QB in the FCS. The Jacks hit the wall against Villanova in the first round of the FCS playoffs at home, but as long as Harper stays, the Jacks will be solid.

Johnnie Cole, Texas Southern
The Tigers had a huge turnaround and won the SWAC in 2010. After a 1-3 start to the season, the Tigers won 8 straight to finish off the season. IN the topsy turvy SWAC, there is no telling what will happen next season, but Cole did the trick this year.

FCS Independents
Bob Wilder, Old Dominion
Wilder was wildly succesful in 2010, which was the first season of FCS play for the Monarchs. ODU will be joining the Colonial next season, and even though the competition gets a lot tougher, ODU will be in prime shape to compete under the guidance of Wilder.

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