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=== 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 Restaurant.
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 coaches poll.
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," Martin said.
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.