Third-year Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly joined former Irish greats Ara Parseghian (1964) and Lou Holtz (1988) as well as his predecessor, Charlie Weis (2005), among 52 past honorees for the prestigious honor voted upon annually by the 1,200 member Football Writers Association of America.
"It is with great pleasure the FWAA presents the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award to Brian Kelly," said 2012 FWAA President Lenn Robbins. "Notre Dame, under Coach Kelly, has returned to national prominence in the college football ranks. This award recognizes that accomplishment for the 2012 season, a season that began with 124 teams vying for an elusive undefeated campaign. Notre Dame was the only bowl-eligible school to accomplish that impressive feat."
Named in memory of the late Eddie Robinson, the winningest coach in Division I history (408 games), who passed away on April 3, 2007, the award has been presented every season since 1987 when Ohio State's Woody Hayes earned the inaugural trophy.
Robinson, who was named by the FWAA in 1966 as "The Coach Who Made the Biggest Contribution to College Football in the Past 25 Years."
Kelly's coaching foe in the upcoming national championship game, Nick Saban, is one of six coaches to earn the award on multiple occasions (2003 with LSU; 2008 for Alabama) and the only active head coach to hold that designation. Kelly was a finalist for the award in 2009 won by TCU head man Gary Patterson.
Kelly's 12-0 Irish represent the seventh team of the 15-season BCS era to play for the championship after winning the award.