1. Meet Our Finalists - Jim Catanzaro, Lake Forest

    Image from Go Foresters

    Along with a demonstrated high level of enthusiasm, passion, and energy, Coach Catanzaro brings playing and coaching experience from a wide variety of institutions at both the scholarship and non-scholarship levels.

    Under “Coach Cat’s” direction, the Foresters have re-written the Foresters record books.  In 2011 the Foresters broke 25 school records. Records fell in team categories in offensive and special teams categories, while individual performances appear on the top 5 all time lists in offense, defense, and special teams categories.

    The youthful Foresters provided exciting football, claiming their first victory against Beloit College since 2007, and increasing their win-streaks against Knox (2) and Lawrence University (5). In addition, the Foresters also saw themselves within a single score of the lead in the fourth quarter in all but two of their conference losses.

    At the time of his appointment, Catanzaro entered the MWC as the youngest head coach in the conference. Prior to being named head coach, Catanzaro served as the defensive coordinator for the Foresters. During his tenure, Lake Forest defenses were consistently ranked at or near the top of the conference each season.

    Information from US Sports Camps

    Give Jim Catanzaro your vote for Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year today at coachoftheyear.com

  2. Meet Our Finalists - Jed Stugart, Sioux Falls


    Image from Road Runner

    Since taking over in 2010, Stugart has guided the Cougars to consecutive winning seasons that were highlighted by 18 victories and an NAIA national championship appearance. 

    In his first season at USF, Stugart led the Cougars to a 13-1 record, fifth straight Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) crown and fifth consecutive appearance in the NAIA National Championship Game.

    Stugart coached his first game for the Cougars on September 4, 2010, a 41-24 victory at No. 23 Northwestern College. The Cougars trailed their longtime rival 14-10 at the half, but outscored the Red Raiders 31-10 in the second half to secure the victory. USF ran the table in the GPAC and capped off a 10-0 regular season with a 44-7 win over Concordia University (Neb.) to capture its fifth straight (ninth overall) GPAC championship.

    Under Stugart’s leadership, the Cougars stormed through their first two playoff contests, a 33-14 win over No. 16 Northwestern Oklahoma State University and a 27-7 victory against No. 12 McKendree University. The wins advanced the Cougars to a semifinal matchup versus No. 4 MidAmerica Nazarene University. The game was a homecoming of sorts for Stugart; he had previously served as the Pioneers’ head coach from 2006-08. USF shutout MNU 38-0, thereby extending the nation’s longest winning streak to 42 games and clinching the Cougar’s fifth straight trip to the NAIA national title game in Rome, Ga.

    Information from USF Cougars

    Give Jed Stugart your vote for Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year today at coachoftheyear.com

  3. Meet Our Finalists - Danny Rocco, Richmond


    Image from Sports Network

    Rocco brings nearly 30 years of coaching experience to Richmond, including his most recent run as head coach at Liberty University, where he led six consecutive winning seasons with the Flames. Following a highly successful tenure at Liberty, where he was a three-time Big South Coach of the Year winner, Rocco took over a Richmond squad this season that went 3-8 and 0-8 in conference play in 2011. 

    This year, Rocco led the Spiders to a share of the CAA Football championship, posting an overall record of 8-3 and a conference mark of 6-2.  The five-win turnaround is the second-best in the history of Richmond football, while the six-conference win improvement was the best in the CAA.

    The Spiders had numerous quality wins this past season, defeating Villanova in Philadelphia, while also taking down then No. 2-ranked James Madison.  Richmond also defeated perennial CAA power Delaware at Robins Stadium.

    Information from Richmond Spiders

    Give Danny Rocco your vote for Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year today at coachoftheyear.com

  4. Meet Our Finalists - Lonnie Pries, Concordia-Chicago

    Image from Northernac.org

    This past season, Pries led the team to a perfect 10-0 regular season. The Cougars’ 62-26 win over Maranatha Baptist Bible College on Nov. 10 was the team’s 16th consecutive win dating back to October of 2011 and was the longest winning streak at any of the three levels of NCAA football at that time. Concordia earned the automatic berth to the NCAA III playoffs, and a number two ranking in the North Region allowed the Cougars to host the game. However, Bethel University of Minnesota edged Concordia 24-23 in an exciting game that was not decided until the final seconds.

    Pries is the architect of a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of Concordia-Chicago’s football program. The cougars, mired in a 20-game winless streak during the 2004-2005 seasons, began a gradual climb back to respectability with Pries’ first game as head coach in 2006 - a 13-3 win over Blackburn, and have never looked back.

    Information from CUCfootballcamps and CUcougars

    Give Lonnie Pries your vote for Coach of the Year today at coachoftheyear.com

  5. Meet Our Finalists - Mark Richt, UGA

    Image from Bloguin.com

    Mark Richt is well known for his legendary leadership as the UGA head coach. This year marks Richt’s 12th season with the University of Georgia. With Richt’s discipline and guidance, the Bulldogs have enjoyed countless victories, including winning two SEC Championships (2002 and 2005) and five SEC Eastern Division titles (2002, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2011).  Along with his team winnings, Richt also received 2 awards for SEC Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2005.

    Richt is also expected to speak at the 2013 FCA Home Team Banquet. Proceeds from this annual fundraiser will benefit the FCA ministry of Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade and Walker Counties.  Funds raised will support, train and equip the FCA huddles, area coaches and teams in the local school systems.

    “Richt is an incredible leader with strong character and determination.  His testimony is sure to be fascinating for banquet attendees and SEC enthusiasts,” said Greg Spradlin, area director for Lookout Mountain FCA.

    Information from Catt.com

    Give Richt your vote for Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year today at coachoftheyear.com

  6. Meet Our Finalists - Jeff Monken, Georgia Southern

    Image from SoconSports

    Since taking over the Georgia Southern Football team prior to the start of the 2010 season, Monken has put the Eagles back on the national scene with back-to-back FCS Semifinal Appearances and a Southern Conference Championship in just his two years at the helm.

    Monken holds a 21-8 career record after two seasons in charge of the program. Since taking over the Eagles, he has led them to the second most wins in the FCS and they are the only team to play in the last two FCS semifinals.

    "We will field a team that this university and this community will be very proud of," said Monken, when he was introduced as the Eagles’ coach. Monken vowed that he and his coaching staff will not cut corners or look for quick fixes. They are committed to returning the Eagles to national prominence by recruiting quality student-athletes who are dedicated to reaching not only their own potential, but the team’s as well. It seems that his plan is very well underway.

    Information from Savannahnow and GSeagles.com

    Give Monken your vote for Coach of the Year today at coachoftheyear.com

  7. Meet Our Finalists - Dabo Swinney, Clemson

    Image from NBC

    At 43, Dabo Swinney is the youngest head coach in the ACC and one of the youngest in the country, and his resumé is already stuffed with many significant accomplishments on a school, ACC, and national level.

    Swinney has led Clemson to a 10-2 record in the regular season, including a 7-1 mark in the ACC, the most regular season conference wins in Clemson history.

    "I’ve had to learn and grow, and I’ve worked hard at it," he said. "I was a better player as a senior than a freshman. I was a better student my senior year in college than my freshman year in college… I think as you mature you get better at anything. I am a much more mature coach just from going through it."

    Swinney pushes his players and his program to show the same kind of growth. “I think that’s what the best of the best do, they are always striving to get better,” he said.

    Information from NBC and CoachingSearch

    Give Dabo Swinney your vote for Coach of the Year today at coachoftheyear.com

  8. Meet Our Finalists - Peter Rossomando, New Haven

    Image from New Haven Football Foundation

    Rossomando enters his fourth season as head football coach at the University of New Haven and in three short seasons, Rossomando has solidified the program as one of the top in the national and has been recognized for his work on and off the field.

    The Chargers enjoyed one of the program’s most successful seasons last year. With the second-most wins in program history, New Haven recorded an 11-2 overall record, a perfect 8-0 record in conference play and perfect 10-0 record against Division II opponents in the regular season. Seven members of the team earned All-American honors, while the team received the ECAC Lambert Cup and the Walter Camps Football Foundation Merit Award.

    As a team, the Chargers ranked second in Division II in passing efficiency and fifth in scoring offense. Quarterback Ryan Osiecki led the offense with impressive passing numbers and finished second in Division II in passing efficiency. Osiecki was also named the New England Gold Helmet award winner for the 2011 season, while offensive guard David Stedman was a finalist for the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year award.

    Information taken from NewHavenChargers.com

  9. Meet Our Finalists - Charlie Strong, Louisville

    Image from Card Chronicle

    Louisville Coach Charlie Strong has led his team to an 11-2 season and one of their first appearances in a big-time bowl game. On January 2nd, 2013 they will be taking on #2 Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

    Next year, he leads Louisville into the world of the ACC. The jump up to the new conference provides Louisville with stiffer conference competition, but even stronger recruiting capabilities. 

    It’s a good thing Charlie Strong will be leading the team. For a while, that fact was in question. Many teams, from UT to Tennessee attempted to entice Coach Strong to join their teams. However, he elected to sign a long-term contract extension through 2020 with Louisville, shocking sports analysts everywhere. 

    His rationale was simple: “It’s about being loyal and it’s about when you make a statement, who you really are and your character and your integrity. When you make those statements, you have to be true to those statements.”

    Give Coach Charlie Strong your vote today at: http://coachoftheyear.com/

  10. Meet Our Finalists - Steve Staker, Coe (Iowa)


    Image from The Gazette

    Coach Staker won the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award in 2010 and he’s in the running again after his successful 2012 season.

    The 2012 Coe Kohawks had a fantastic team. They went undefeated in the regular season, and imposed their will on many of their opponents. They averaged 39 points per game, while holding their opponents to just 12 points per game. Some of their games were complete blowouts. They won in week 4 with a score of 51-0, week 5 with a score of 69-7, and week 7 with a score of 47-7.

    Of course, Coach Steve Staker gets a lot of credit for installing a high-powered offense, and a strong defense. As far as Coach Staker is concerned, he’s just living the dream: “It was always my dream to coach at the college level. I wouldn’t say it was as a head coach, necessarily. But what a great way to end my coaching career.”

    Information from Coe Athletics and The Gazette

    Give Steve Staker your vote for Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award 2012 today at: http://coachoftheyear.com/

The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award recognizes college football coaches who demonstrate Sportsmanship, Integrity, Responsibility and Excellence both on and off the field. Endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame, the program awards one winning coach from each NCAA division (I-FBS, I-FCS, II, and III) with $50,000 to donate to a charity of their choice, a $20,000 grant to each school’s alumni association, and the Coach of the Year trophy.