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Vote Rocco Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year

December 15, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Vote Liberty's Head Football Coach Danny Rocco for the 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award.

Vote Liberty's Head Football Coach Danny Rocco for the 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award.

Vote Danny Rocco for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award

Liberty Head Football Coach Danny Rocco is one of the five finalists for the 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award.

The finalists represent standout college football coaches across Division I-AA who best exemplify excellence in coaching – on and off the field. The finalists were determined by a combination of hundreds of thousands of fan votes at www.CoachoftheYear.com and an objective scoring model endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame. 

Voting for the award will be conducted between Dec. 12 and Dec. 22. Liberty fans are encouraged to go to www.CoachoftheYear.com once per day to cast their vote for Rocco for Coach of the Year. On the site, fans have the opportunity to review bios and fan testimonials supporting each finalist before casting their vote.

To be sure candidates are evaluated fairly and measured against the specific values of responsibility and integrity, a selection committee composed of College Football Hall of Fame players and coaches and the national media will also cast votes for the winners. Fan voting will account for 20 percent of each coach's score, while the College Football Hall of Famers and national college football media will account for 55 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

The College Football Hall of Fame committee is comprised of 23 members, including Archie Manning, Herschel Walker and Jerry Rice. The media panel is made up of 16 members, including legendary college football broadcaster Keith Jackson and ESPN personalities Kirk Herbstreit and Colin Cowherd.

Last year, the Division I-AA honoree was Southern Illinois' Jerry Kill, who guided the Salukis to a 12-2 overall record and a trip to the NCAA FCS playoff semifinals.

Rocco guided the Flames to their second consecutive Big South Championship this season. Liberty posted its first-ever 10-win season in program history this past year, going 10-2. Under the third-year head coach, Liberty cracked the Top 25 for the first time in a decade. The Flames finished the regular season with their highest national ranking since 1990, when they capped their season with a 26-3 victory over No. 12/14 Elon to climb to No. 14 in the Sports Network poll and No. 15 in the FCS Coaches weekly listing.

Liberty once again went unbeaten in the Big South during 2008, recording a 5-0 Big South mark en route to becoming the third team in league history to claim consecutive conference titles. For the third straight year, Rocco was tabbed Big South Coach of the Year, becoming the first head coach in league history to take home the honor three times and in three successive years.

The Flames' head coach joins Wofford's Mike Ayers, Prairie View A&M's Henry Frazier III, James Madison's Mickey Matthews and Appalachian State's Jerry Moore, as finalists from Division I-AA for the award. The 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award winner will be announced on ESPN during halftime of the Music City Bowl on Dec. 31.

Criteria for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award:
The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year is awarded to the college football coach who best demonstrates sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility, and excellence on and off the field.

In 2008, Liberty Mutual will name a Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year in each NCAA division: DI, DIAA, DII, and DIII. The award process will take place over the course of the college football season, and fan votes will influence the outcome.

More than just a trophy, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award provides each winning coach with $50,000 to donate to one or more charitable organizations of his choice and a $20,000 grant to donate to his school's alumni association to enhance student scholarships and activities. As of last year, $300,000 has been donated to charity, and $100,000 given to alumni associations. Past recipients include:

Charities:
Athletes in Action
Coach Kill Cancer Fund
Crisis Nursery of Urbana
Cunningham Children's Home in Urbana
Fellowship of Christian Athletes – University of Illinois Chapter
Friends of Pets
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Restoration Urban Ministries of Champaign - Urbana
Saint John's University
Saint Patrick's Catholic Church
United Way of Champaign County

Alumni Associations:
Chadron State Alumni Association
Rutgers Alumni Association
Saint John's University Alumni Association
Southern Illinois University Alumni Association
University of Illinois Alumni Association

Eligibility:
Active football coaches in all NCAA divisions with a winning record are eligible to receive the 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. The winner in each division will be chosen using a combination of fan votes and votes received from members of the 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Selection Committee.

To be a finalist, a coach must NOT have:
Major program infractions assessed by the NCAA in the current year (2008) at the school he represents
APR penalties assessed to his program by the NCAA in the last two reporting periods
Major integrity violations during 2008 (also applies to members of coach's staff)

Criteria:
When open fan voting closes on December 6, the top 25 coaches in each division will be scored against the following criteria, using an objective evaluation model endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame:

Coaching Excellence:
Results
• Current-season wins
• Year-over-year wins change in comparison to respective conference
• Current-season ratings
• Year-over-year ratings change in comparison to respective conference

Team Discipline
• Total number of penalties in comparison to the respective conference average

Sportsmanship/Integrity:
On-Field Sportsmanship
• Total personal-foul penalties

Off-Field Integrity
• Absence of integrity violations by head coach or staff
• Absence of integrity violations per player per incident

Academic Excellence:
Academic Progress (DI and DIAA only)
• Current academic progress rate (APR*) scores
• Year-over-year APR* score change in comparison to respective division

Academic All-Americans (DII and DIII only)
• Number of All-Americans during the current year
• Total number of All-Americans in the past three seasons ('06, '07, '08)

Community Commitment:
Community Commitment
• Activities (one-time) or programs (ongoing and/or repetitive) instituted and/or participated in during 2008