SE Missouri State coach honored as most outstanding FCS college football head coach
Tony Samuel earned 31 of the 130 first-place votes.
Frisco, TX (Sports Network) -
Southeast Missouri State snuck up on opponents early in the season, but by year's end everybody had noticed its remarkable turnaround.
Head coach Tony Samuel was rewarded on Thursday night with the 2010 Eddie Robinson Award, which honors the Football Championship Subdivision's Coach of the Year. The Sports Network presents and Fathead.com sponsors the 24th annual Robinson Award.
Samuel captured 31 of the 130 first-place votes and 269 points. Western Illinois' Mark Hendrickson was the runner-up with 218 points, while Eastern Washington's Beau Baldwin, Wofford's Mike Ayers (who won the 2003 Robinson Award) and Indiana State's Trent Miles rounded out the top five.
Southeast Missouri State had a 2-9 record in 2009 and tied for seventh in the Ohio Valley Conference's 2010 preseason poll. Behind Samuel's lead, the Redhawks went 9-2 during the regular season, won the school's first OVC championship and gained their first-ever playoff bid. They lost at Eastern Washington in the second round.
The Redhawks had 10 players named to the All-OVC team. A school-record eight players were named to the first team, running back Henry Harris was chosen as the OVC's offensive player of the year and Samuel won the conference's coach of the year award.
"It was really impressive to see what this team accomplished this year," said Samuel, who completed his fifth season with the Redhawks.
"You know, I'm the head coach, so I get the honor, but everybody knows, the assistant coaches, it's very important what they do and, of course, we mentioned the players. My name is on the door as the head coach and that's why my name is on the trophy, but that's a team honor."
The Robinson Award was voted on by a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries.
The order of finish was Samuel, Hendrickson, Baldwin, Ayers, Miles, Montana State's Rob Ash, Lehigh's Andy Coen, William & Mary's Jimmye Laycock, Bethune-Cookman's Brian Jenkins, Jacksonville State's Jack Crowe, Appalachian State's Jerry Moore, Jacksonville's Kerwin Bell, Stephen F. Austin's J.C. Harper, Delaware's K.C. Keeler, Penn's Al Bagnoli, Robert Morris' Joe Walton, Southern Utah's Ed Lamb, Alabama State's Reggie Barlow, Dayton's Rick Chamberlin, Rhode
Island's Joe Trainer (a write-in candidate on the ballot), Liberty's Danny Rocco and UC Davis' Bob Biggs (a write-in candidate).
In addition to the Eddie Robinson Award, The Sports Network presents and Fathead.com sponsors the Walter Payton Award, bestowed on the FCS' outstanding player, and the Buck Buchanan Award, which honors the FCS' outstanding defensive player.