=== Eddie Robinson Award captured by JMU's Mickey Matthews ===|
New York, NY (TSN) - James Madison head coach Mickey Matthews was
named the 13th winner of the Eddie Robinson Award Monday at the
FCS College Football Awards ceremony held at Mickey Mantle's
The first-year coach from Andrews, Texas led the Dukes to an 8-3
regular season record and a postseason berth in the FCS playoffs.
Matthews inherited a team that was 3-8 in 1998 and 5-6 in 1997, and
was predicted to finish next to last in the Colonial Athletic (formerly Atlantic 10) preseason
Matthews was named to his first head coaching position at any
level in late-March of 1999. He succeeded former JMU coach Alex Wood,
who left the team to accept an assistant coaching position with the
NFL's Minnesota Vikings following his four-year stint as head coach at
the Harrisonburg, Virginia school.
Matthews, a graduate of West Texas State (1976), began his
coaching career in 1978 with Kansas State and moved onto West Texas
State (1980-81), Texas-El Paso (1982-85), Houston (1986), T-C-U
(1987), Southwest Texas State (1988-89), Marshall (1990-95), Georgia
(1996-98) and Baylor (1999).
"Mickey Matthews and JMU are a good fit," said then-JMU interim
athletics director Dr. Tom Martin. "We are all convinced he will bring
a new era of excitement to Bridgeforth Stadium. He will be a major
player at our level."
"Mickey has rich experience as a coach, beginning on the high
school level and then for the past 21 years as a college coach - both
on the FBS and the FCS levels. He has been associated with
outstanding programs. He's been familiar with success as a coach,"
After a season-opening loss to FBS powerhouse Virginia Tech,
James Madison reeled off seven straight wins, matching the second-
longest winning streak in school history. Included in the streak were
wins over nationally-ranked Delaware, Villanova and South Florida.
The Dukes were ranked in The Sports Network FCS Top 25
poll throughout the second half of the season, reaching as high as No.
8, before finishing the regular season at No. 12.
Matthews married the former Kay Bolger of Irving, Texas in July
of 1976. They have a daughter, Meredith Anne, a student at the
University of Georgia and a son, Clayton, a high school junior.
Matthews is the third coach from the Colonial Athletic to win the
Robinson Award. He received 23 first-place votes and 212 points from
the panel of 75 FCS media and sports information directors.
Following Matthews in the voting were L.C. Cole (Tennessee State),
Bobby Johnson (Furman), Al Seagraves (Elon College) and Tim Walsh
(Portland State). The Robinson Award was established in 1987 by The
Sports Network and is presented annually to the most outstanding
Division I-AA college football coach.
Past winners of the Robinson Award are: 1998 - Paul Johnson,
Georgia Southern; 1997 - Andy Talley, Villanova; 1996 - Darren
Barbier, Nicholls State; 1995 - Houston Nutt, Murray State; 1994 - Jim
Tressel, Youngstown State; 1993 - Dan Allen, Boston University; 1992 -
Charlie Taaffe, The Citadel; 1991 - Chris Ault, Nevada; 1990 - Gene
McDowell, Central Florida; 1989 - Erk Russell, Georgia Southern; 1988
- Bill Russo, Lafayette; 1987 - Mark Duffner, Holy Cross.