DALLAS (FWAA) – The Football Writers
Association of America, in conjunction with the
Allstate Sugar Bowl, announced nine finalists for the
2020 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on
Monday. Among the finalists is a two-time winner and three former
finalists representing a combined total of 14 nominations. Two head
coaches whose teams are playing in the College Football Playoff
headline the list that also includes coaches of three other conference
champions and the country's top independent team.
In alphabetical order the finalists are: Tom Allen,
Indiana; Brent Brennan, San José State;
Matt Campbell, Iowa State; Jamey Chadwell,
Coastal Carolina; Karl Dorrell, Colorado;
Luke Fickell, Cincinnati; Nick Saban,
Alabama; Kalani Sitake, BYU; and Dabo Swinney,
Saban is the dean of the nine finalists as a two-time winner
and seven-time finalist. Swinney, a six-time finalist, is among
the finalists for a fourth consecutive season and is the only returning
finalist from 2019. Both coaches will compete in the CFP next month,
Swinney in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Ohio State.
Brennan, Chadwell, Fickell, Saban and Swinney each claimed conference championships
this season. Campbell and Iowa State won the Big 12 regular-season
title, Allen has Indiana among the top 10 going into the Outback
and Sitake led BYU into the top 10 and Dorrell had Colorado each
unbeaten into December.
"The Allstate Sugar Bowl is proud to sponsor the Eddie Robinson
Award and to once again have the opportunity to recognize the top
college football coaches in the nation as finalists for this honor,"
said Ralph Capitelli, the President of the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
"While each of the finalists is fully deserving of the award, we
look forward to presenting the trophy to the winner as selected
by the football writers."
The 2020 recipient will be announced the week of Jan. 4-8, 2021.
The official presentation will be on the campus of the winning coach
at a later date.
The nine finalists have been placed on a ballot which has been
sent to the entire FWAA membership.
"The FWAA believes it has an extremely good group of coaches
representing different conferences and independents," said Executive
Director Steve Richardson. "We will have a fine recipient for the
2020 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. The FWAA's congratulations
go out to all coaches for weathering what has been a very trying
and unpredictable year."
"This time of the year with the winding down of the college
football season, I'm especially excited to receive the announcement
of the Eddie Robinson Coach of Year Award finalists," said
Eddie Robinson III, the grandson of the award's namesake. "With
all of the world dealing with Covid-19, and the fact that we even
had a season and that every program had to adapt to deal with the virus
protocols etc, all the coaches that made list of finalists are even
more than deserving of the award. We wish the best for all that
selected as finalists."
The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season
when Ohio State's Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. The
FWAA coaching award is named after the late Robinson, a coaching
legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.
The 2020 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalists:
Tom Allen, Indiana: The Hoosiers (6-1) are
one of three teams with three top-25 wins and have been ranked
in the top 10 five times in 2020, cresting the top-10 threshold
for the first time since 1969. The eight weeks in the poll is
Indiana's longest streak since 1945. In his fifth season in
Bloomington, the Big Ten Coach of the Year by media and fellow
coaches has led Indiana to six conference wins, tied for the
most in program history with the 1967 and '87 teams. This is
Allen's first finalist honor and the Hoosiers' first Eddie Robinson
Award finalist since 1967 when John Pont was the winner.
Brent Brennan, San José State: The Spartans
(7-0) are one of five unbeaten teams heading into the bowl season
under their fourth-year head coach. They have been one of the
great success stories this season. Having been forced by the
pandemic to play three home games outside of California, Brennan,
the Mountain West Coach of the Year, and San José State responded
by winning their division and playing in the school's first
conference championship game, beating Boise State, 34-20. This
is the Spartans' first winning season since 2012, and a win
in the Arizona Bowl would give them their first undefeated season
since 1939. This is Brennan's first Eddie Robinson Award finalist
honor and the first for the Spartans.
Matt Campbell, Iowa State: The Cyclones
(8-3) were the Big 12 regular-season champions, earning a league
title for the first time since 1912, and played in their first
Big 12 Championship game. Of the Cyclones' 22 starters, nine
of them were All-Big 12 First Team selections. Campbell, the
Big 12 Coach of the Year in his fifth season in Ames, led Iowa
State to a school-record eight conference wins and its highest
ranking (No. 6 in the CFP) in any poll in its history. A win
in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl over Oregon would give the Cyclones
their first nine-win season since 2000. This is Campbell's first
Eddie Robinson Award finalist honor and the first for the Cyclones.
Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers
(11-0), picked to finish last in the Sun Belt Conference's East
Division, captured the nation's attention in the first week
with a 38-23 win at Kansas, swept their eight conference games
plus two more for the first unbeaten season in school history
and the first in Sun Belt history. In only its fourth year as
a full-time FBS member, Coastal Carolina won its first conference
championship, earned its first national ranking (No. 9/11 this
week with 10 straight weeks in both polls), its first College
Football Playoff ranking (No. 12 in final poll) and defeated
two Top-25 teams, including then-No. 8 BYU, 22-17 on Dec. 5.
CCU's current 12-game win streak dating back to last season
is tied with No. 1 Alabama for the longest in the nation.
The Sun Belt Conference's Coach of the Year
in his third season at the Coastal Carolina helm is the school's
first Eddie Robinson Award finalist. He and defensive end Tarron
Jackson, a Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist, are Coastal's first
finalists for any FWAA postseason award.
Karl Dorrell, Colorado: The Buffaloes (4-1)
were one of nine undefeated teams heading into the final two
weeks of the regular season and were ranked in the Dec. 7 polls
for the first time since October of 2018. Dorrell, in his first
season at CU, is the fifth head coach in school history to open
4-0 in his first season and just the second since 1905. Colorado
jumped out 3-0 in league play for the first time as a Pac-12
member, making Dorrell the first CU coach to win his first three
conference games since 1941. The Buffs will play in the Valero
Alamo Bowl, their first bowl game since 2016. This is Dorrell's
second finalist nomination, having also achieved it in 2005
while at UCLA. Colorado has had two previous Eddie Robinson
Award winners, most recently Mike MacIntyre in 2016 and Bill
McCartney in 1989.
Luke Fickell, Cincinnati: The Bearcats (9-0)
won their first outright league title since 2009 and their first
American Athletic Conference Championship. Cincinnati is No.
8 in the final CFP rankings and will play in its first New Year's
Six bowl and its first New Year's Day bowl since the 2009 season
when the Bearcats battle Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. The
Bearcats have one of the nation's top defenses that ranks in
the top 15 in five categories, including second in team interceptions
(15) and seventh in scoring defense, giving up only 16 points
per game. Fickell, the American's Coach of the Year in his fourth season at UC,
has earned Cincinnati's first finaliist nod since 2009 when Brian
Kelly, now at Notre Dame, earned the designation. Cincinnati
has never had an Eddie Robinson Award winner.
Nick Saban, Alabama: The Crimson Tide (11-0)
completed their fifth undefeated regular season under Saban and earned the top seed in the College Football
Playoff with impressive scoring margins through an all-SEC schedule.
Alabama is the only team in SEC history to win 10 conference
games in a season while averaging 49.5 points per game in the
10-game regular season and became the first SEC team to post
five 50-point games in SEC play. Saban, in his 14th season in
Tuscaloosa, has coached more games (84) as the AP's No. 1 team
than any other active head coach and will face Notre Dame in
a national semifinal in Arlington, Texas. A two-time Eddie Robinson
Award winner (at Alabama in 2008, at LSU in 2003), he is one
of Alabama's two previous winners along with Gene Stallings
in 1992. He is now a seven-time finalist, earning the designation
in four of the last seven seasons.
Kalani Sitake, BYU: The Cougars (10-1) earned
their first 10-win season since 2011 navigating through an oft-altered
and harried schedule. BYU is the only FBS team in the top 10
in scoring offense, scoring defense, total offense and total
defense. The Cougars are in the top 10 in 14 statistical categories
overall and have qualified for a 38th bowl game in program history.
Sitake, in his fifth season at BYU, is the school's second finalist
and first since Bronco Mendenhall in 2006. LaVell Edwards is
BYU's only previous winner in 1984.
Dabo Swinney, Clemson: The Tigers (10-1)
qualified for the College Football Playoff for a sixth consecutive
season, heading into their national semifinal game against Ohio
State in New Orleans. Swinney and Clemson became the first team
in any active conference to win six consecutive outright titles
(tied with Oklahoma). Clemson, heading to its 16th consecutive
bowl game, has won 10 games for a school-record 10th consecutive
season after avenging its only loss to Notre Dame in the ACC
Championship Game. The Tigers are 18-8 under Swinney in rematches
of losses during his career. Swinney, in his 13th season at
Clemson, is now a six-time finalist and the only repeat finalist
from a year ago; he is among the finalists for a fourth consecutive
season and the fifth time in six seasons (also 2015 and '11).
Danny Ford is Clemson's only previous winner from the 1981 national
The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National
College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses
the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997,
the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating
to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org
on Twitter to learn more about the association.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established
itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having
hosted 28 national champions, 96 Hall of Fame players, 50 Hall
of Fame coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 86-year
history. The 87th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which
will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal, is
scheduled to be played on Jan. 1, 2021 between No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State. In
addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests
over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship
of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the
organization supports and honors thousands of student-athletes each
year, while injecting over $2.7 billion into the local economy in
the last decade. For more information, visit
The Football Writers Association of America,
founded in 1941, consists of 1,300 men and women who cover college
football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and
publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve
the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations,
major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information
about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson
All-time Eddie Robinson
Award winners, finalists
• Eddie Robinson Award: