Photo courtesy of LSU Athletics
- Throughout the college football season coaches prepare themselves and ready their teams to take the field each game day. And across the four college football divisions there are coaches whose guidance and leadership extend well beyond the playing field, leaving lasting impressions on the players they mentor and the communities they reach. Liberty Mutual Insurance celebrates 25 of these individuals today by announcing the finalists for the 2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, the leading college football-coaching honor that celebrates coaches for their sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence, and for giving back to their teams, schools and communities, on and off field.
The 25 finalists (10 from the Football Bowl Subdivision and five each from the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II and Division III) were determined as a result of online fan voting at CoachoftheYear.com and through an objective scoring model endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame. Each coach was among the top 15 in fan votes in his division to qualify for the model, which considers, among other criteria: wins, team penalties, on-field sportsmanship, academic achievement by the student-athletes, and commitment to charitable endeavors.
"Each of the 25 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year finalists is an example of what it means to be a true leader both on and off the field," said Archie Manning, Chairman of the National Football Foundation & College Football Hall of Fame. "They inspire excellence on the field, commitment to academics, and dedication to one's community."
2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Finalists (listed alphabetically)
Football Bowl Subdivision:
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State University
Brady Hoke, University of Michigan
Mark Hudspeth, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Mike London, University of Virginia
Les Miles, Louisiana State University
Bobby Petrino, University of Arkansas
Mark Richt, University of Georgia
Nick Saban, University of Alabama
Bill Snyder, Kansas State University
Dabo Swinney, Clemson University
Football Championship Subdivision:
Rob Ambrose, Towson University (Md.)
Rob Ash, Montana State University
Tom Gilmore, College of the Holy Cross (Mass.)
Jerry Moore, Appalachian State University
Chris Mussman, University of North Dakota
Tim Beck, Pittsburg State University (Kan.)
Bill Maskill, Midwestern State University (Texas)
Peter Rossomando, University of New Haven (Conn.)
Scott Underwood, St. Cloud State University (Minn.)
John Wristen, Colorado State University-Pueblo
Glenn Caruso, University of St. Thomas (Minn.)
Keith Emery, Western New England University
Steve Johnson, Bethel University (Minn.)
Lance Leipold, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Stan Zweifel, University of Dubuque (Iowa)
"Through the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, college football fans are able to help identify and salute inspirational coaching leaders across the nation," said Greg Gordon, Liberty Mutual senior vice president, Consumer Marketing. "Each year, we ask fans to vote for the coaches who best exemplify the award's pillars - sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence. Each of these 25 coaches does just that, through actions on the field as well as providing leadership to their student athletes and service to their communities."
Fans can visit CoachoftheYear.com between December 6 and December 22 to vote daily among the finalists in each division. Selection committees of more than 50 College Football Hall of Fame players and coaches - including Archie Manning, Lou Holtz, Vince Dooley, Ronnie Lott, Archie Griffin - and the national college football media, such as Kirk Herbstreit, Stewart Mandel and Tim Brando, will also cast votes for the winners to ensure coaches are evaluated fairly and measured against the specific values of responsibility and integrity. Winners are ultimately determined using the following voting weight: Fans 20 percent, College Football Hall of Fame 55 percent, and Media 25 percent.
Liberty Mutual will announce the four winners the morning of the BCS Championship game, January 9, 2012, in New Orleans. Each winner receives a $50,000 donation from Liberty Mutual to the charity or charities of his choice, as well as a $20,000 scholarship grant in their name to their school's alumni association. Since 2006, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award has celebrated the work of 17 winning coaches by donating more than $1.2 million to over 80 charities and college alumni scholarship funds across the country.
In recent years, Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year winners have used their donations to benefit charities across the country from Boys and Girls Club chapters to homeless shelters. Some have even started their own foundations to benefit families struggling with critical illness.