College Football Coach of the Year

University of Miami head football coach Larry Coker was named 2002 College Football Coach of the Year recently at the 37th annual Victor Awards. UM tailback Willis McGahee was named College Football Player of the Year while former UM tailback Clinton Portis received the Victor Award for Pro Football Rookie of the Year.

Coker, who led the Hurricanes to a 12-1 record and a second consecutive appearance in college football's National Championship game, was honored as college football's coach of the year for the second straight year by the Victor Awards. He has led Miami to a 24-1 record in two seasons as head coach, winning the 2001 National Championship. Coker's two-year start ranks as the third-best ever by a head coach in the history of college football in terms of winning percentage. In terms of total victories through two seasons as a head coach, Coker's 24 victories ranks third all-time and is the most in 109 years.

McGahee was given the Victor Award as the College Football Player of the Year. Drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft, McGahee rushed for 1,753 yards and 28 touchdowns (both school records) and became just the fifth running back in college football history to account for more than 2,000 yards total offense and score more than 25 touchdowns in the same season.

Portis, who played at Miami from 1999 to 2001 and now plays for the NFL's Denver Broncos, was honored with the Victor as Pro Football Rookie of the Year. The Gainesville, Fla., native set a Broncos rookie record for rushing yardage with 1,508 and yards from scrimmage with 1,872. He scored 17 touchdowns, the third-highest by any rookie running back in NFL history and averaged 5.52 yards per carry - the best in franchise history. Portis averaged 108.7 yards per game after taking over the starter's role at tailback.

The Victor Awards recognized more than 50 athletes and coaches in 17 categories for outstanding achievements and contributions to the world of sports. Proceeds from the Victor Awards benefited the City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute. Located in Southern California, City of Hope is renowned for its treatment and research to combat cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses.

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