Paterno among finalists for Robinson award

DALLAS (FWAA) – The Football Writers Association of America has announced nine finalists for the 2008 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award to be voted upon by the entire membership.
 
With the 2008 regular season completed, the FWAA, in conjunction with the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, has tabbed the following finalists: Texas’ Mack Brown, USC’s Pete Carroll, Texas Tech’s Mike Leach, Florida’s Urban Meyer, Penn State’s Joe Paterno, Boise State’s Chris Petersen, Alabama’s Nick Saban, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops and Utah’s Kyle Whittingham.
 
The finalists will be placed on a ballot which will be sent to the entire FWAA membership.
 
Two of the finalists, Boise State’s Petersen and Utah’s Whittingham, have directed their teams to unbeaten regular seasons, while seven of the nine coaches have led their teams to Bowl Championship Series games.
 
Of the nine finalists, four have previously been named the FWAA’s National Coach of the Year, led by Penn State’s Joe Paterno, who has been honored by the FWAA three times (1978, ’82 and ’86). Paterno has been a finalist on two other occasions (1997 and 2005). Florida’s Urban Meyer (2004), Alabama’s Nick Saban (2003) and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops (2000) are the other previous winners. Saban is trying to become the second coach to win the honor at two different schools after earning the award at LSU five seasons ago.
 
While USC’s Pete Carroll has never won the award, he has been a finalist three times in three consecutive years (2003-05). This also is the third time Texas’ Mack Brown has been named a finalist, the second time at Texas (2005). In 1997, he was a finalist for the award at North Carolina. Boise State’s Petersen is a finalist for the second time in three years, while Texas Tech’s Leach and Utah’s Whittingham are the only two first-time finalists. The FWAA began naming its coaching award in honor of the late Robinson, the legendary Grambling State University coach, in 1997.
 
The winner of the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award will be announced and honored at a reception on Jan. 6 in Miami sponsored by the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and presented in conjunction with the FedEx BCS Championship Game.
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