Dec. 31, 2008
BOSTON - Every college football coach shares a love of the game and tenacity to win, yet today four coaches share the distinct honor of this year's best display of success, integrity, and sportsmanship both on and off the field. University of Alabama Coach Nick Saban, James Madison University Coach Mickey Matthews, Pittsburg (Kan.) State University Coach Chuck Broyles, and Mount Union College Coach Larry Kehres are the 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award winners.
Each winning coach receives $50,000 from Liberty Mutual Insurance to support his favorite charity and $20,000 in scholarship funding for his school's alumni association. Now in its third year, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year charitable and scholarship donations total $680,000. The winners also will be recognized in the permanent Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year display at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind.
"These four coaches represent all that is great about college football," said Archie Manning, chair of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. "They share a collective belief that how you win is every bit as important as winning itself. They value and demonstrate respect, sportsmanship and civic involvement, and have left a positive footprint on their universities, their student-athletes, and their communities."
Coaches Saban, Matthews, Broyles and Kehres were chosen through fan votes at www.CoachoftheYear.com and ballots cast by an elite selection committee of College Football Hall of Fame players and coaches and the national media based on their on-field coaching results, sportsmanship and integrity, academic excellence of their student-athletes, and their community commitment. Fan votes accounted for 20 percent of each coach's final score while the College Football Hall of Famers and national college football media accounted for 55 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award Winners
Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) - Nick Saban, University of Alabama
When Nick Saban's Crimson Tide took the Georgia Dome field in August, hopes were high to improve on last year's 7-6 season. That first-game victory over Clemson was the beginning of Alabama's resurrection in the SEC and countrywide, and led to an undefeated regular season and, ultimately, a Sugar Bowl date with Utah on January 2 in New Orleans. The 12-win campaign set the school record for the largest increase in wins from year one to year two for a Crimson Tide head coach.
Leading a team that commits, on average, 30 percent fewer penalties than its conference foes is a big reason Coach Saban enjoyed such a tremendous season the field. And off the field, Saban is equally poised for success as a philanthropist and mentor. The Nick's Kids Fund he started when coaching at Michigan State continues to be a shining example of Saban's concern for disadvantaged children, and since arriving in Tuscaloosa the Fund has distributed more than $540,000 to 115 charities. And this past June, Saban and his wife, Terry, announced a $1 million gift to benefit Alabama's first-generation scholarship program. Community involvement extends to the players as well, with many participating in a local Life Skills program as well as helping to raise funds for Alabama libraries.
Crimson Tide student-athletes also benefit from Saban's guidance in the classroom. His published mission statement for his team reads, "[Graduating from college] is going to have the greatest impact on the quality of your life forever." And Alabama's rising Academic Progress Rate is evidence of his commitment to their education.
Football Championship Subdivision (Division I-AA) - Mickey Matthews, James Madison University
Coach Mickey Matthews's tenth campaign at the helm of the James Madison football team was marked by an undefeated Colonial Athletic Conference record (8-0) and 12-game winning streak that brought the team to the FCS semifinals before dropping to eventual national runner-up Montana. One element of coaching excellence is team discipline, an area in which the Dukes excelled this year having committed nearly 20 percent fewer penalties than the CAA average. Coach Matthews's student-athletes are equally disciplined in the classroom, continually producing strong Academic Progress Rates.
Division II - Chuck Broyles, Pittsburg State University
Pittsburg State (Kan.) Coach Chuck Broyles recently completed his 19th season as head football coach at his alma mater, guiding the Gorillas to an 11-2 overall record, a 15th appearance in the NCAA Division II national playoffs, and a eighth-place ranking in the AFCA Division II year-end poll. In the classroom, the Pitt State football squad produced two Academic All-Americans in 2008 and six in the past three years. Forty-four percent of the Gorilla football players currently maintain 3.0 GPAs or higher. Broyles' civic and charitable contributions have been far and wide-ranging; including organizing an annual YMCA Youth Football Day; coordinating team involvement in Project Franklin, a restoration project in the local community; and facilitating his team's visits to local elementary schools to read with the students.
Division III - Larry Kehres, Mount Union College
For the tenth time in 16 years, the Purple Raiders of Mount Union College sit atop Division III as national champions, capping a 15-0 season with a 31-26 victory over defending champion Wisconsin-Whitewater in the Stagg Bowl. In his 23 years as Mount Union head football coach, Larry Kehres' teams also have garnered 19 Ohio Valley Conference titles and have posted 17 undefeated regular seasons. Coach Kehres has had his share of talented players to help produce this on-field success (two All-Americans in 2008), yet he also has help nurture classroom champions as well (five Academic All-Americans since 2006). Coach Kehres organized Mount Union's support of this year's national Coach to Cure MD project to help raise awareness and funds to fight Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He also encourages his student-athletes to participate in civic and community activities, with many players serving on the NCAA Leadership Conference.
"Nick Saban, Mickey Matthews, Chuck Broyles, and Larry Kehres embody the spirit of college football," said Greg Gordon, Liberty Mutual senior vice president, Consumer Marketing. "Their commitment to responsibility, honor, integrity and excellence - on and off the field - has transformed their teams and will live on in their communities thanks to their legacy of strong civic and academic support."
The 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award recipients were selected from a group of 25 finalists: 10 coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) and five coaches each from the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA), Division II and Division III. To qualify as a finalist, each coach had to be among the top 25 fan vote getters in his division at www.CoachoftheYear.com and then be scored by an objective model that considers, among other criteria: wins, team penalties, on-field comportment, academic achievement by the student-athletes, and civic and philanthropic commitments.
2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Selection Committee
Media voters include: Craig Bennett (USA Today), Jack Bogaczyk (Charleston Daily Mail), Tim Brando (CBS Sports, Sporting News Radio), Pat Coleman (D3football.com), Colin Cowherd (ESPN Radio), Teddy Greenstein (Chicago Tribune), Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN), Clyde Hughes (D3football.com), Keith Jackson (Hall of Fame Sportscaster, retired), Dan Jenkins (Sportswriter/National Football Foundation historian), Bill King (Rivals Sports Radio Network), Ivan Maisel (ESPN.com), Stewart Mandel (Sports Illustrated), Gordie Mann (D3football.com), Keith McMillan (D3football.com), Brandon Misener (D2football.com), Ryan Tipps (D3football.com), and Bud Withers (Seattle Times).
College Football Hall of Fame voters include: Bob Anderson, Jim Ballard, Tom Beck, Tom Brahaney, Teel Bruner, Marino Casem, Jim Christopherson, Carmen Cozza, Jeff Davis, Dan Dierdorf, Terry Donahue, Vince Dooley, Joe Dudek, LaVell Edwards, Dick Farley, Joe Fusco, Archie Griffin, Bob Griese, Roger Harring, Chad Hennings, Lou Holtz, Jim Houston, Don James, Billy Joe, Johnnie Johnson, Ron Johnson, Roy Kidd, Gordie Lockbaum, Ronnie Lott, Archie Manning (Chair, National Football Foundation), Fred Martinelli, Mark May, Darrell Mudra, Don Nehlen, Tom Osborne, Tubby Raymond, Bob Reade, Jerry Rice, James Saxton, Jeff Siemon, Jim Sochor, Patrick Stevens, Jessie Tuggle, Herschel Walker, Frosty Westering, Paul Wiggin, Reggie Williams, Richard Wood and Ron Yary.
About Liberty Mutual Group
''Helping people live safer, more secure lives'' since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group (LibertyMutualGroup.com) is a diversified global insurer and sixth-largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2007 direct written premium. Liberty Mutual Group ranks 94th on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. corporations, based on 2007 revenue. The company has over 45,000 employees located in more than 900 offices throughout the world.
The eighth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual (LibertyMutual.com) sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance. The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering car and home insurance to employees and members of more than 10,000 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups.
About the National Football Foundation & the College Football Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, Play It Smart, the NFF-FWAA Football Forum, the NFF Gridiron Club of New York City, and scholarships of over $1 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Trophy, the Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org or www.collegefootball.org.