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Morningside's Ryan named AFCA Coach of the Year

January 08, 2013
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By Vince Thompson, AFCA Director of Media Relations
Photo by Bob Rasmus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The American Football Coaches Association capped its 2013 convention by presenting its top coaching award — AFCA Coach of the Year — to five outstanding coaches today.

Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, North Dakota State’s Craig Bohl, Valdosta State’s David Dean, St. Thomas’ Glenn Caruso and Morningside’s Steve Ryan are the 2012 AFCA National Coach of the Year winners. Kelly in FBS, Bohl in FCS, Dean in Division II, Caruso in Division III and Ryan in NAIA.

The winners are selected by a vote of the Active AFCA members (coaches at four-year schools) in the Association’s five divisions. The AFCA has named a Coach of the Year since 1935. The AFCA Coach of the Year award is the oldest and most prestigious of all the Coach of the Year awards and is the only one chosen exclusively by the coaches themselves.

Brian Kelly led Notre Dame to a 12-1 record and an appearance in the BCS National Championship game. He has a 199-68-2 overall record in his 22 seasons as head coach, with two Division II National Championships in 2002-03 at Grand Valley State, two Big East titles at Cincinnati and two AFCA Division II Coach of the Year honors in 2002-03. In his three seasons as head coach for the Fighting Irish, Kelly has led Notre Dame to 28-11 record.

David Dean led the Blazers to a 12-2 record in 2012 and the program’s third NCAA Division II national title in nine years, earning him AFCA Division II Coach of the Year honors for the second time. With those 12 wins, Dean brought his overall record to 54-17 and drew closer to Chris Hatcher’s program leading 76-win mark. He also earned AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors in 2010 after leading Valdosta State to eight wins, a NCAA Division II playoff berth and the school’s first conference title in six years.

Glenn Caruso led St. Thomas to a 14-1 record, its third consecutive Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) championship and its first appearance in the NCAA Division III national championship game. Caruso has a five-year record of 57-8 at St. Thomas. The Tommies have recorded three straight 10-0 regular seasons, making the first time that has been accomplished in MIAC history. Caruso earned AFCA Regional honors in 2010 after leading St. Thomas to a 12-1 mark and a trip to the NCAA Division III quarterfinals.

Steve Ryan led Morningside to a 13-1 record and an appearance in the NAIA national championship game this season to earn AFCA NAIA National Coach of the Year honors for the first time, to go along with a second straight AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honor. Ryan has an overall record of 98-31 in his 11 years as head coach at Morningside, ranking him second on the school’s all-time wins list behind Jason Saunderson with 118. He guided the Mustangs to a second straight Great Plains Athletic Conference title in 2012, and third under his tutelage. Morningside has made nine straight appearances in the NAIA playoffs under Ryan.

The winners will be honored Tuesday evening at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center