"Greg Schiano is one of the greatest examples of perseverance and hard work college football has known," Dennis Dodd, 2006 FWAA President, said. "He single-handedly put Rutgers back on the map. Being a Scarlet Knight now means something profound and lasting."
The FWAA has honored a major-college coach with its Coach of the Year Award since 1957. Schiano is only the second coach from a traditional Eastern school to win the award since Syracuse's Dick MacPherson in 1987.
"It is a tremendous honor to be this year's recipient of the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award," said Schiano. "Coach Robinson's ability to win games consistently, while keeping his players' development into responsible men first and foremost, has served as a model for me as a head coach."
Rutgers finished the 2006 season with an 11-2 record after solidly beating Kansas State, 37-10, in the Texas Bowl, which was played at Reliant Stadium in Houston. The Scarlet Knights were 5-2 in the Big East Conference and posted a 11-victory season for only the second time in the 137-year football history of the school.
A year ago, Schiano also was in Phoenix and led the Scarlet Knights into the Insight Bowl, where they dropped a 45-40 decision to Arizona State and finished 7-5.
Schiano, 40, a former Bucknell linebacker and New Jersey native, inherited a Rutgers program which had six straight losing seasons and had been to just one previous bowl in its history. But his previous assistant defensive coaching stints at Miami, Fla., Chicago Bears and Penn State had served him well.
This past season, Rutgers set a single-season attendance record when it averaged more than 40,000 fans a game. Fourteen Scarlet Knights captured All-Big East honors, including five first-team selections.
The FWAA Coaching Award is named after Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 years. He has more Division I victories (408) than any other coach. The winner of the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award also will be honored at his campus before next season.