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2016 AFCA Regional Coach Of The Year – Kevin Donley

For the second consecutive year, University of Saint Francis Head Football Coach Kevin Donley has been named an NAIA American Football Coaches Association’s 2016 Regional Coach of the Year. This is Donley’s third regional award – 2008, 2015, 2016.

Donley has guided the Cougars to their 18th consecutive winning season and will take USF to the 2016 NAIA Football Championship Series Title Game in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Dec. 17, 2016, against 2nd-ranked Baker University.

Alabama’s Nick Saban and Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Pete Fredenburg highlight today’s announcement of the American Football Coaches Association’s 2016 Regional Coach of the Year winners. The 2016 FBS and FCS Regional Coach of the Year winners will be recognized at the inaugural American Football Coaches Awards, televised live on CBS Sports Network on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 9 p.m. EST. The 2016 Division II, Division III and NAIA Regional winners will be honored at the AFCA Victory Luncheon at the 2017 AFCA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, also on January 10 at 11:30 a.m.

The AFCA recognizes five regional Coach of the Year winners in each of the Association’s five divisions: Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and NAIA. The winners are selected by Active members of the Association who vote for coaches in their respective regions and divisions.

Saban earned his second AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honor by guiding the Crimson Tide to a 13-0 overall record, the Southeastern Conference title and an appearance in the College Football Playoff. In his 21 seasons as a head coach, Saban has an overall record of 204-60-1 and a 113-18 mark at Alabama with four national titles in the past seven years. Fredenburg earned his ninth AFCA Regional honor, which places him fourth on the all-time list. He has guided Mary Hardin-Baylor to a 13-0 record, a 14th American Southwest Conference title and a trip to the NCAA Division III semifinals. Fredenburg is 194-38 in 19 seasons at UMHB.

Football Bowl Subdivision

Region 1: Ken Niumatalolo, U.S. Naval Academy

Region 2: Nick Saban, University of Alabama

Region 3: P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan University

Region 4: Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia University

Region 5: Mike MacIntyre, University of Colorado

Football Championship Subdivision

Region 1: Mike Houston, James Madison University*

Region 2: Rod Broadway, North Carolina A&T University & Jerry Mack, North Carolina Central University (tie)

Region 3: John Grass, Jacksonville State University*

Region 4: John Stiegelmeier, South Dakota State University

Region 5: Kyle Schweigert, University of North Dakota

Division II

Region 1: Gary Dunn, California University of Pennsylvania

Region 2: Bobby Wallace, University of North Alabama

Region 3: Adam Dorrel, Northwest Missouri State University

Region 4: Ronnie Huckeba, Harding University

Region 5: Jed Stugart, University of Sioux Falls

Division III

Region 1: Bob Rankl, Alfred University

Region 2: Jim Margraff, Johns Hopkins University

Region 3: Pete Fredenburg, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

Region 4: Jeff Thorne, North Central College

Region 5: Tyler Staker, Coe College


Region 1: Chris Oliver, Lindsey Wilson College & Drew Cronic, Reinhardt University* (tie)

Region 2: Kevin Donley, University of Saint Francis (Ind.)*

Region 3: Mike Grossner, Baker University*

Region 4: Steve Ryan, Morningside College*

Region 5: Chuck Morrell, Montana Tech

*-2015 winner

AFCA National Coach of the Year:  The AFCA will announce the 2016 FBS and FCS National Coaches of the Year winners at the inaugural American Football Coaches Awards, televised on CBS Sports Network on Tuesday, January 10 at 9 p.m. EST, during the 2017 AFCA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. The Division II, Division III and NAIA National Cocahes of the Year will be announced at the AFCA Victory Luncheon, also on Tuesday, January 10. The Regional winners in each division will be the finalists for National Coach of the Year.

Award History: The AFCA began recognizing district coaches of the year following the 1960 season. The awards were established the same year Eastman Kodak agreed to sponsor the AFCA Coach of the Year award. Prior to 1960, the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain had sponsored the program, which recognized one national Coach of the Year.

The AFCA first recognized eight district winners in each of two divisions: university and college. In 1972, a ninth district was added in each division. In 1983, the award was changed to recognize regional winners instead of district winners, and the number of divisions was increased from two to four, and five regional winners were selected in each division. This resulted in a more equitable selection process and better represented the make-up of the membership. At the same time, the new system increased the number of honorees from 18 to 20. In 2006, the AFCA Division II Award was split into separate Division II and NAIA divisions, giving us the 25 winners we now recognize.

Repeat Winners: James Madison’s Mike Houston, Jacksonville State’s John Grass, Reinhardt’s Drew Cronic, St. Francis’ Kevin Donley, Baker’s Mike Grossner and Morningside’s Steve Ryan are the repeat winners from 2015. Grass has won three Regional honors in a row, from 2014-16, as has Ryan, who now has six honors (2005, 2011, 2012, 2014-16). With his repeat selection this year, Donley now has three Regional honors to his name (2008, 2015-16).

Multiple Winners: Other multiple winners in the 2016 class are Pete Fredenburg (ninth; 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012-14, 2016), Chris Oliver (fourth; 2011, 2013-14, 2016), Jim Margraff (third; 2011, 2014, 2016), Bobby Wallace (third; 1993, 1995, 2016), Chuck Morrell (second; 2012, 2016), Nick Saban (second; 2009, 2016), Kyle Schweigert (second; 2005, 2016), John Stiegelmeier (second; 2007, 2016) and Jed Stugart (second; 2008, 2016).

First Time Winners: Twelve coaches earned their first AFCA Regional Coach of the Year Award in 2016: Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo, Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck, West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen, Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre, North Carolina A&T’s Rod Broadway, North Carolina Central’s Jerry Mack, California’s (Pa.) Gary Dunn, Northwest Missouri State’s Adam Dorrel, Harding’s Ronnie Huckeba, Alfred’s Bob Rankl, North Central’s Jeff Thorne and Coe’s Tyler Staker.

Most Awards: Mount Union’s Larry Kehres (1986, 1990, 1992-93, 1996-97, 1999-02, 2006-12) has the most district/regional honors in AFCA history, with 17. Penn State’s Joe Paterno (District 2: 1967-68, 1971-73, 1977-78, 1982; Region 1: 1985; Region 3: 1994, 2005) is second with 11 District/Regional Coach of the Year honors. Following Kehres and Paterno is Bloomsburg’s Danny Hale with 10 awards (College Division I, Region 1 1986-88, 1994-95; Division II, Region 1, 2000-01, 2005-06, 2008). Hale won his first three awards while at West Chester. Pete Fredenburg is in the fourth spot with nine Regional honors (2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012-14, 2016). Seven coaches have won the award seven times: Tubby Ray­mond, Delaware; Jim Butterfield, Ithaca; Bo Schem­bechler, Miami (Ohio), Michigan; Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne, Nebraska; Mel Tjeerdsma, Northwest Missouri State and Carmen Cozza, Yale. Seven coaches have won Regional honors six times: Vince Dooley, Georgia; Roy Kidd, Eastern Kentucky; John McKay, USC; Jerry Moore, Appalachian State; Darrell Royal, Texas; Steve Ryan, Morningside; and Mike Van Diest, Carroll (Mont.).

Most Winners by School: Mount Union-18 (Ken Wable-1, Larry Kehres-17); Nebraska-15 (Bob Devaney-7, Tom Osborne-7, Frank Solich-1); North Dakota State-12 (Darrell Mudra-1, Ron Erhardt-4, Jim Wacker-1, Don Morton-3, Earle Solo­monson-1, Craig Bohl-2); Penn State-12 (Rip Engle-1, Joe Paterno-11); Texas-11 (Darrell Royal-6, Fred Akers-2, David McWil­liams-1, Mack Brown-2); Alabama-10 (Bear Bryant-4, Bill Curry-1, Gene Stallings-2, Mike Shula-1, Nick Saban-2); USC-10 (John McKay-6, John Robinson-2, Pete Carroll-2); Wittenberg-10 (Bill Edwards-3, Dave Maurer-4, Ron Murphy-1, Joe Fincham-2); Bloomsburg-9 (George Landis-1, Danny Hale-7, Paul Darragh-1); Ithaca-9 (Jim Butterfield-7, Mike Welch-2); Mary Hardin-Baylor-9 (Pete Fredenburg-9); Michi­gan-9 (Bump Elliott-2, Bo Schem­bechler-6, Lloyd Carr-1); New Hampshire-9 (Clarence Boston-1, Jim Root-1, Bill Bowes-3, Sean McDonnell-4); Arkansas-8 (Frank Broyles-4, Lou Holtz-1, Ken Hatfield-1, Houston Nutt-2); Northwest Missouri State-8 (Mel Tjeerdsma-7, Adam Dorrel-1); Ohio State-8 (Woody Hayes-4, Earle Bruce-1, John Cooper-3); Oklahoma-8 (Chuck Fairbanks-3, Barry Switzer-2, Bob Stoops-3); Texas A&M-Kingsville-8 (Gil Steinke-2, Ron Harms-5, Bo Atterberry-1); Yale-8 (Jordan Olivar-1, Carmen Cozza-7).

Two Consecutive Years, Two Schools: Mike Houston (The Citadel, 2015 & James Madison, 2016) joined seven other coaches who have earned AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors at two schools in consecutive years: Fred Akers (Wyoming, 1976 & Texas 1977), Dennis Franchione (Pittsburg State, 1989 & Texas State, 1990), Jim McElwain (Colorado State, 2014 & Florida, 2015), Hal Mumme (Valdosta State, 1996 & Ken­tucky, 1997), Dick Sheridan (Furman, 1985 & North Carolina State, 1986), Kevin Sumlin (Houston, 2011 & Texas A&M, 2012) and Joe Tiller (Wyoming, 1996 & Purdue, 1997).

Most Schools: South Carolina’s Lou Holtz is the only coach to earn AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors at four different schools. Holtz earned the honor at North Carolina State (1972), Arkansas (1979), Notre Dame (1988) and South Carolina (2000). Brian Kelly (Grand Valley State, Cincinnati, Notre Dame) became the seventh coach to win district or regional honors at three different schools in 2012. He joins Jerry Claiborne (Virginia Tech, Maryland, Kentucky), Darrell Mudra (North Dakota State, Western Illinois, Northern Iowa), Houston Nutt (Mississippi, Arkansas, Murray State), Mike Price (UTEP, Washington State, Weber State), Jim Sweeney (Montana State, Washington State, Fresno State) and Jim Wacker (North Dakota State, Texas State, TCU) on that list.

Consecutive Years: Mount Union’s Larry Kehres is the only coach to win district/regional honors in seven consecutive years, winning in Division III from 2006-12. Northwest Missouri State’s Mel Tjeerdsma and Nebraska’s Bob Devaney are the only coaches to win district/regional honors in five consecutive years. Tjeerdsma earned the honor in Division II from 1996-2000. Devaney earned the honor in the AFCA’s old University Division (1962-66). Carroll’s Mike Van Diest joins Trinity’s (Texas) Steve Mohr, North Dakota State’s Ron Erhardt and Kehres as the only men to win the award four years in a row. Van Diest earned the honor in NAIA from 2007-10, while Kehres won his four in a row from 1999-2002 in Division III. Erhardt earned district honors in the AFCA’s old College Division (1967-68-69-70) while Mohr earned the honor in Division III (1996-97-98-99). Sixteen coaches have earned district or regional honors three years in a row. Ithaca’s Jim Butterfield (1978-79-80 and 1984-85-86) earned the award in three consecutive years on two different occasions.