Temple football head coach Matt Rhule
was named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award, the Football Writers Association of America announced today.
Rhule has done wonders with a Temple program that is a Top 25 team in 2015. The Owls have been nationally ranked for the first time since 1980. The former Penn State linebacker is in his third season on North Broad Street and could register the first 11-victory season in school history with a victory over Toledo in the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl. The Owls took Notre Dame down to the wire before losing and won the American Athletic Conference's East Division before falling at Houston in the conference title game. He is the first finalist from Temple.
Joining Rhule as finalists are: Michigan State's Mark Dantonio, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, Houston's Tom Herman, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly, Stanford's David Shaw, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Clemson's Dabo Swinney.
The finalists were placed on a ballot sent out to the entire FWAA membership today. Ballots will be accepted from the membership through 5 p.m. CT on Friday. FWAA members were asked to vote for their top choices in the order they believe the coaches are deserving of the award.
The official presentation reception will be Jan. 9, 2016, in Scottsdale, Ariz., where the winning coach will be handed the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year bust during a reception at the media hotel in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship.
The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State's Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. In 1997, the FWAA's national coach of the year award was named in honor of the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons. His 408 career Division I victories are second-most in the history of college football.
Robinson, who passed away in 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, all spent at the same school.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,400 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 gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.