Saban named finalist for Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award
The University of Alabama’s Nick Saban was named one of eight finalists for the 2014 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on Monday.
The Eddie Robinson Award is annually presented to “The nation’s most outstanding coach” by the Football Writers Association of America, and dates back to 1957 when Woody Hayes was the inaugural recipient.
Although some feel this might be Saban’s best coaching job yet, as Alabama defeated Missouri 42-13 in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday, he’s previously won the award twice, in 2003 at LSU and 2008.
Saban is already up for the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year and the Maxwell Football Club Coach of the Year awards.
The winner of the Eddie Robinson will be named on Monday. Here are the finalists, with capsules from the Football Writers Association of America:
- Art Briles, Baylor: The Bears’ share of the Big 12 Conference title with TCU means Baylor (11-1) has a least a piece of the league crown for a second straight season. The Bears handed TCU its only loss, 61-58, in Waco and will face Michigan State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. Briles was an Eddie Robinson Award finalist last season.
- Jimbo Fisher, Florida State: The Seminoles (13-0) claimed the national championship in 2013, and are on a 29-game winning streak. Florida State is one of the four teams selected for the College Football Playoff, with a chance to win back-to-back national titles. Fisher was an Eddie Robinson Award finalist last season, but no Florida State coach has won the FWAA’s coach of the year honor.
- Justin Fuente, Memphis: The Tigers (9-3) claimed a share of the American Athletic Conference title. Their nine victories are the most by the Tigers since 1963, and the conference championship is the first for Memphis since winning the Missouri Valley in 1971. Fuente, a former Oklahoma quarterback, is in his third season at Memphis.
- Bryan Harsin, Boise State: The Broncos rose to the top of the Group of Five in Harsin’s first season at Boise State, after he spent one season as the head coach at Arkansas State. Boise State (11-2), as the Mountain West Conference champion, will play in the VIZIO Fiesta Bowl against Arizona.
- Mark Helfrich, Oregon: In his second season as the Oregon head coach, Helfrich is attempting to get the Ducks (12-1) back in the national title game as his predecessor Chip Kelly did in 2010 when he won the Eddie Robinson Award. Oregon won the Pac-12 title game to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff semifinals against Florida State in the Rose Bowl Game.
- Urban Meyer, Ohio State: The Buckeyes (12-1) battled past a shocking early home loss to Virginia Tech, quarterback injuries and tragedy. They won the Big Ten Conference title, thumping Wisconsin, 59-0 in the championship game, with their third starting quarterback of the season. Meyer, like Patterson, has won the Eddie Robinson Award before, in 2004 at Utah.
- Gary Patterson, TCU: The Horned Frogs were 4-8 a year ago in only their second season in the Big 12 Conference, but Patterson revamped his offense and TCU (11-1) gained a share of the school’s first Big 12 title. Patterson is also a former Eddie Robinson Award winner, in 2009 when the Horned Frogs were in the Mountain West Conference.
- Nick Saban, Alabama: The Crimson Tide (12-1) will be going for their fourth national title in six years under Saban, who already added a third SEC title at Alabama this past weekend. Saban has won the Eddie Robinson Award twice before (2003 at LSU and 2008 at Alabama). The Crimson Tide meets Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in a College Football Playoff semifinal.