Saban Finalist For Coach Of Year

The National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame selects national Coach of the Year winners in all four NCAA football divisions, and fan voting plays a part in the selection. Alabama Coach Nick Saban is among the finalists for the award.



Alabama Coach Nick Saban is a finalist for national coach of the year, a day after it was announced that he was selected Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year. Also among the 10 finalists in the largest classification is Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham.

Alabama and Utah will meet in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 2.

Here is the announcement of procedure from the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame in New York:

Liberty Mutual Insurance and Archie Manning, chair of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, announced the 25 finalists for the 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. The finalists represent standout college football coaches across the four NCAA divisions who best exemplify excellence in coaching - on and off the field - as determined by a combination of hundreds of thousands of fan votes at http://www.CoachoftheYear.com and an objective scoring model endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame.

Each Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year finalist will have an opportunity to receive recognition in the permanent College Football Hall of Fame display in South Bend, Ind., $50,000 to support personal civic and charitable activities, and a $20,000 scholarship donation for his alumni association. After this season, the total Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year charitable and scholarship contributions will reach $680,000. The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award was introduced in 2006.

"I've had the opportunity to observe these coaches and their teams throughout the season and this lineup of finalists tells me that fans embraced what is unique about this award by voting for their favorite coach," said Manning who helped Liberty Mutual announce the finalists at the National Football Foundation Annual Awards press conference in New York City. "Being a successful college football coach is a balancing act that requires the ability to inspire a team to win on the field while developing responsible student-athletes off the field."

The 25 award finalists represent 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, a 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.

The Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) finalists are, in alphabetical order: Mack Brown, University of Texas; Brady Hoke, Ball State University; Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern University; Urban Meyer, University of Florida; Joe Paterno, Pennsylvania State University; Chris Petersen, Boise State University; Nick Saban, University of Alabama; Bob Stoops, University of Oklahoma; Jim Tressel, Ohio State University; and Kyle Whittingham, University of Utah.

The Football Championship Subdivision (Division I- AA) finalists are, in alphabetical order: Mike Ayers, Wofford College; Henry Frazier III, Prairie View A&M University; Mickey Matthews, James Madison University, Jerry Moore, Appalachian State University; and Danny Rocco, Liberty University.

The Division II finalists are, in alphabetical order: Chuck Broyles, Pittsburg State University; David Dean, Valdosta State University; Danny Hale, Bloomsburg University; Chuck Martin, Grand Valley State University; and Bill O'Boyle, Chadron State College.

The Division III finalists are, in alphabetical order: Greg Debeljak, Case Western Reserve University; John Gagliardi, St. John's University; Larry Kehres, Mount Union College; Dan MacNeill; SUNY Cortland; and Mark Speckman, Willamette University.

"These finalists represent what is great about college football," said Greg Gordon, Liberty Mutual senior vice president of Consumer Marketing. "Today we recognize 25 coaches who understand that how you win is every bit as important as winning itself, and who are revered by their fans for exhibiting characteristics of sportsmanship, integrity and responsibility." 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Winner Selection Between Dec.12 and Dec. 22 college football fans are once again invited back to www.CoachoftheYear.com to cast their vote for the winner. On the site, fans have the opportunity to review bios and fan testimonials supporting each finalist before they make their selection and enjoy episodes of "Coach's Corner" which offer Archie Manning and Kirk Herbstreit's perspectives on the latest topics in college football.

To ensure candidates are evaluated fairly and measured against the specific values of responsibility and integrity, a Selection Committee composed of College Football Hall of Fame players and coaches and the national media will also cast votes for the winners. Fan votes account for 20 percent of each coach's final score while the College Football Hall of Famers and national college football media account for 55 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

The 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award winners will be announced on ESPN during halftime of the Music City Bowl on Dec. 31.

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