Dec. 9, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama head football coach Nick Saban, junior linebacker Rolando McClain and senior return specialist Javer Arenas won three of the Southeastern Conference’s major individual football awards, the league office announced Wednesday.
Saban was named the 2009 SEC Coach of the Year after leading the Crimson Tide to a 13-0 record and the school’s 22nd SEC championship. McClain was tabbed the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and Arenas was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year in a vote by the league’s 12 head coaches.
He was named SEC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row after leading the Crimson Tide to a No. 1 BCS ranking and berth in the BCS National Championship Game against No. 2 Texas on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. In three years at Alabama. Saban has compiled a 32-8 (.800) overall record and has led the Tide to back-to-back SEC Western Division titles. The Crimson Tide has won 26 of its last 28 games, dating back to the 2007 season. He was named the SEC Coach of the Year earlier this week by the Associated Press. The 2009 season marks the third time (2003, 2008 and 2009) Saban has won that honor.
Saban is the seventh different Alabama coach to win SEC Coach of the Year honors, joining Frank Thomas (1945), Red Drew (1952), Paul Bryant (1961, 1964, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1979 and 1981), Bill Curry (1989), Gene Stallings (1992) and Mike DuBose (1999). Saban and Bryant are the only two Alabama coaches to earn the award more than once.
McClain was named the 2009 SEC Defensive Player of the Year after leading one of the nation's top defensive units with 101 tackles, including 12.5 tackles for loss (-58 yards) and four sacks (-36 yards). He also added 14 quarterback pressures, three pass breakups, two interceptions (21 return yards) and forced one fumble. He anchors a defense that leads the nation in scoring defense (11.0 ppg) and pass efficiency defense (88.81 rating) while ranking second in rushing defense (77.9 ypg) and total defense (241.69 ypg). The Tide are also seventh nationally in pass defense (177.82 ypg). He is the second UA player to win SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors since the award’s inception in 2003. Former Alabama All-American and current Houston Texans All-Pro linebacker DeMeco Ryans won the award in 2005.
Arenas is the first Alabama player to earn SEC Special Teams Player of the Year honors. The Tampa, Fla., native has totaled more than 1,000 kick return yards this season and has scored one touchdown. He is the SEC’s all-time leader with 1,733 career punt return yards and seven touchdowns. He is just 28 yards shy of Wes Welker's (Texas Tech) NCAA career punt return record. Arenas was a two-time All-SEC selection by the league’s head coaches at cornerback and kick returner.
The 2009 Freshman All-SEC team will be released on Thursday.
2009 SEC FOOTBALL INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
Coach of the Year
Nick Saban, Alabama
Defensive Player of the Year
Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
Special Teams Player of the Year
Javier Arenas, RS, Alabama
Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Offensive Player of the Year
Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Freshman of the Year
Warren Norman, RS/RB, Vanderbilt
Jacobs Blocking Trophy
Ciron Black, OL, LSU