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Rocco Coaching Award Finalist for Third Time

December 13, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Rocco Coaching Award Finalist for Third Time

Vote Daily - Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year

Following a fourth-straight Big South championship football season, Liberty Head Coach Danny Rocco has been named a finalist in the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year contest, joining four other elite FCS coaches up for the honor in the I-AA category.

This is the third-straight year Rocco has been a finalist for the coaching honor, making him the first FCS coach in the country to be named a finalist three times. Appalachian State' Jerry Moore and South Dakota State's John Stiegelmeier have each been two-time finalists.

Three of the four remaining finalists have led their teams to a spot in this year's NCAA FCS Playoff semifinals. Villanova's Any Talley will face Eastern Washington's Beau Baldwin in the first FCS Playoff semifinal Friday night in Cheney, Wash. Delaware's K.C. Keeler, coach of the highest remaining seeded team in this year's playoffs, will host Georgia Southern on Saturday. Rounding out the top five finalists along with Rocco is Montana State's Rob Ash.

The finalists were determined as a result of online fan voting at and through an objective scoring model endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame. Rocco qualified for the model by finishing among the Top 15 in fan votes in the FCS division. The model considers, among other criteria: wins, team penalties, on-field sportsmanship, academic achievement by his student-athletes (APR) and civic and philanthropic endeavors.

If Rocco were to win this year's award, Liberty Mutual will award Rocco $50,000 to donate to the charity of his choice and a $20,000 grant to the Liberty University Alumni Association for student scholarships and activities. Winners will be announced Jan. 10, 2011, in Scottsdale, Ariz., in advance of the BCS Championship Game.

"Coach Rocco is a great candidate for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award," said Greg Gordon, Liberty Mutual senior vice president, Consumer Marketing. "The passionate Liberty fans and alumni have suitably honored his coaching excellence, his dedication to student-athletes and his commitment to community by casting votes and sharing anecdotes about his contributions, both on and off the field."
Between December 13 and 28, fans can visit to vote among the finalists. The final fan vote constitutes 20 percent of a coach's final score toward this year's award.

To ensure candidates are evaluated fairly and measured against the specific values of responsibility and integrity, selection committees of College Football Hall of Fame players and coaches – including Archie Manning, Lou Holtz, Vince Dooley, Ronnie Lott, Archie Griffin as well as additional historic football coaches and players – and the national college football media will also cast votes for the winners.

The Hall of Fame and media votes account for 55 percent and 25 percent, respectively, toward the final award winner in each of the five divisions.

Launched in 2006, Liberty Mutual created the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award to celebrate responsible coaching because it is one of the clearest examples of a positive influence on young people, their families and entire communities.

Past winners include 2006 – Greg Schiano (Rutgers); 2007 – Ron Zook (Illinois), Jerry Kill (Southern Illinois), Bill O'Boyle (Chadron State), John Gagliardi (Saint John's); 2008 – Nick Saban (Alabama), Mickey Matthews (James Madison), Chuck Broyles (Pittsburg State), Larry Kehres (Mount Union); 2009 – Gary Patterson (TCU), Jerry Moore (Appalachian State), Mel Tjeerdsma (Northwest Missouri State), Steve Staker (Coe College).

2010 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Finalists
(listed in alphabetical order)

Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS):
Gene Chizik, Auburn
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Rich Ellerson, Army
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
Chip Kelly, Oregon
Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Tom O'Brien, N.C. State
Nick Saban, Alabama
Mike Sherman, Texas A&M
Jim Tressel, Ohio

Football Championship Subdivision (FCS):
Rob Ash, Montana State
Beau Baldwin, Eastern Washington
K.C. Keeler, Delaware
Danny Rocco, Liberty
Andy Talley, Villanova

Division II:
Mike Aldrich, Augustana (SD)
Bob Nielson, Minnesota Duluth
Tom Sawyer, Winona State
Marty Schaetzle, Mercyhurst
Mel Tjeerdsma, Northwest Missouri State

Division III:
John Auer, Crown
Glenn Caruso, University of St. Thomas
Steve Johnson, Bethel
Clayton Kendrick-Holmes, Maritime (SUNY Maritine)
Matt Land, Trine