Duff Tittle | Posted: 21 Dec 2020 | Updated: 9 Feb 2021

Sitake named National Coach of the Year finalist

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Kalani Sitake named Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalist


DALLAS — The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), in conjunction with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, today named BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake one of nine finalists for the 2020 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. 

Sitake guided the Cougars to a 10-1 record and No. 13/15 national rankings navigating through an oft-altered and hurried 2020 schedule. BYU is the only FBS team in the nation currently ranked 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 and have qualified for its 38th bowl game in program history. 

"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."

Joining Sitake as 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; and Dabo Swinney, Clemson.

The nine finalists have been placed on a ballot which has been sent to the entire FWAA membership. 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.

"Kalani is very deserving of this honor," said BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe. "He was at his best this year in the midst of a pandemic. He implemented the necessary changes from last season in personnel and strategy and built a team this year based on leadership, unity and having fun playing the game.”

BYU legendary Hall of Fame coach LaVell Edwards was named the FWAA Coach of the Year in 1984 after leading the Cougars to a perfect 13-0 record and a national championship. In 2006, then BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall was named a finalist for the award after guiding BYU to a 11-2 record and a 38-8 victory over Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl.

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 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 were selected as finalists."