GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida head coach Will Muschamp has been named one of nine finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, announced by the Football Writers Association of America in conjunction with the Fiesta Bowl, on Monday.
Muschamp has led the No. 3 Gators to their 22nd-straight bowl appearance after compiling an 11-1 overall record and 7-1 SEC mark in just his second year at the helm of the program. He is 18-7 overall at Florida and 1-0 in Bowl Games and will look to grab his second bowl win on Jan. 2 as the Gators face Louisville in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La.
Muschamp is the only first time head coach at a BCS-conference school to win 11 regular-season games in his second season after finishing .500 or worse the previous regular season in records back to 1996. Florida improved from a 6-6 regular season in 2011 to an 11-1 regular season in 2012. The five-game turnaround in the regular season marked the biggest one-year leap for the program in 32 years (0-10-1 in 1979, 7-4 regular season in 1980).
This is Muschamp’s second Coach of the Year nomination, as he was also named to the Watch List for the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award list as one of 18 candidates.
Other candidates for the Eddie Robinson award include Gary Andersen (Utah State), Dave Doeren (Northern Illinois), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Urban Meyer (Ohio State), Bill O'Brien (Penn State), David Shaw (Stanford), Bill Snyder (Kansas State) and Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M).
The FWAA has honored a major college coach with its Coach of the Year award since 1957. Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University, has been the FWAA's coaching namesake for the past 15 years. The Fiesta Bowl joined with the FWAA a year later as the sponsor of the award. The finalists will be placed on a ballot which is being sent to the entire FWAA membership today. Ballots will be accepted from the membership through Dec. 8. 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 on Jan. 6, 2013, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where the winning coach will be given the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award during a reception at the media hotel.