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Towson coach Rob Ambrose claims 25th Eddie Robinson Award

Towson coach honored as most outstanding FCS college football head coach

Rob Ambrose is the 25th winner of the Buck Buchanan Award.

Frisco, TX (Sports Network) - Before the season started, Towson was picked to finish last in CAA Football.

However, the Tigers turned the standings upside down this season, putting together a 9-3 record, winning an outright CAA title and hosting a game in the second round of the FCS playoffs.

Having guided his team to new heights, Towson coach Rob Ambrose was honored on Friday as the 2011 Eddie Robinson Award recipient, given annually to the FCS Coach of the Year. The Sports Network presents and Fathead.com sponsors the award.

Ambrose is the 25th recipient of the award, which is named for legendary Grambling State head coach Eddie Robinson, the second-winningest coach in Division I history with 408 victories.

Now in his third season as a head coach, it was rocky at first for Ambrose, a Towson alumnus, as his teams struggled to 2-9 and 1-10 finishes in his first two seasons.

"You have to get to a point where you can actually discuss winning, and it took two years before that could even be a conversation," Ambrose said. "The first time I walked out on the field against a CAA team and looked at my guys versus another CAA team, we looked like a JV team, and I'm thinking 'My gosh, this is terrible.'"

This season, winning was finally part of the discussion, as the Tigers went 5-2 against teams ranked in The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top 25 and reeled off three different three-game winning streaks. Towson hadn't had a three-game winning streak since 2006.

Ambrose appeared on 110 of the 132 ballots and received 59 first-place votes, edging out Sam Houston State?s Willie Fritz.

Ambrose is the fourth coach from the CAA (formerly the Atlantic 10 and Yankee Conference) to win the Eddie Robinson Award, and the first since James Madison coach Mickey Matthews was honored in 2008.

Matthews, the only two-time winner, helped present the award at Friday night's awards dinner in Frisco.

Ambrose wasn't the only Tiger honored Friday night as standout freshman running back Terrance West was named the inaugural Jerry Rice Award winner, given to the outstanding freshman in the FCS.


2011 Eddie Robinson Award Voting
Name School 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Total
Rob AmbroseTowson 59 25 9 14 3 453
Willie FritzSam Houston St. 40 29 25 13 7 424
Bobby WilderOld Dominion 7 15 24 13 17 210
Craig BohlN. Dakota State 2 13 9 11 16 127
Pete AdrianNorfolk State 7 5 6 9 14 105
Andy CoenLehigh 3 7 10 10 3 96
Kevin KellyGeorgetown 2 8 7 12 8 95
Jeff MonkenGeorgia Southern 2 5 9 11 7 86
Watson BrownTennessee Tech 4 5 4 8 9 77
Tim MurphyHarvard 1 6 5 0 9 53
Chuck PrioreStony Brook 0 2 4 7 7 41
Anthony JonesAlabama A&M 2 2 2 4 4 36
Bob FordAlbany 1 2 4 4 2 35
Nigel BurtonPortland State 0 1 4 4 2 26
Robin PflugradMontana 1 1 2 3 4 25
Chris MussmanNorth Dakota 0 1 2 1 10 22
Gary HarrellHoward 0 3 0 3 2 20
Clint ConqueCentral Arkansas 0 1 1 3 4 17
Ron GaragherSan Diego 1 1 2 0 1 16
Chris CreightonDrake 0 0 3 1 3 14
*Jack CosgroveMaine 0 0 0 1 0 2
* -Write-in votes.

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Breaking The Line
by Samuel G. Freedman
Samuel G. Freedman's "Breaking The Line" vividly recreates the world of black college football in the civil rights era with a gripping chronicle of the 1967 season for coach Eddie Robinson at Grambling State and Alonzo S. "Jake" Gaither at Florida A&M.
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