The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Fiesta Bowl, announced five finalists for the 2011 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award today at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
The finalists are: Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Brady Hoke (Michigan), Les Miles (LSU), Bill Snyder (Kansas State), and Dabo Swinney (Clemson).
The winner of the FWAA's 55th annual coach of the year award will be announced on Dec. 15 after balloting by the entire FWAA membership. The FWAA and the Fiesta Bowl will host a special reception on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, in New Orleans to honor the winner and present him with the trophy, a bust of Eddie Robinson.
Here is a look at the five finalists:
• Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: His Cowboys posted an 11-1 regular season and won their first Big 12 Conference title in history after a 44-10 demolishing of Oklahoma to close the regular season. The conference title in football was the first outright for the Cowboys since winning the Missouri Valley Conference in 1948. Oklahoma State will play Stanford in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. This is the second straight season the Oklahoma State coach is a finalist for the award.
• Brady Hoke, Michigan: Qualifying for a BCS bowl in his first season in Ann Arbor was probably not in Hoke's thoughts when he moved over from San Diego State. His 10-2 Wolverines are headed to the Allstate Sugar Bowl to play Virginia Tech. That, plus beating Ohio State to break a seven-game losing streak to the Buckeyes, makes the former Michigan assistant coach a worthy candidate.
• Les Miles, LSU: His Tigers are 13-0 and ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings after winning the Southeastern Conference title last Saturday, overwhelming Georgia, 42-10. The nation's only unbeaten team will meet Alabama on Jan. 9, 2012, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game. Miles is in his seventh season at LSU, where he has already won a national title (2007).
• Bill Snyder, Kansas State: After coming back from retirement, Snyder has taken only three seasons to reach double-digit wins again in Manhattan. The Wildcats surprised experts by losing only two games during the regular season – to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State – and will play Arkansas in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. Snyder was previously a finalist for the award in 1998.
• Dabo Swinney, Clemson: The Tigers routed Virginia Tech, 38-10, in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game to clinch a berth in a BCS bowl. Clemson finished 10-3 overall, posting its first 10-win season since 1990 and claiming its first league football title since 1991. The Tigers, who beat Virginia Tech twice during the 2011 season, will appear in the Discover Orange Bowl for the first time in 30 seasons when they play West Virginia.
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.
Miles a finalist for Robinson award
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