University of Louisville football head coach Charlie Strong has been named a finalist for the 2012 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year, it was announced Wednesday afternoon.
Strong, in his third season, has guided the Cardinals to a 10-2 overall record, including a 5-2 conference mark, and Louisville’s second-straight BIG EAST title. With the team’s win over Rutgers in the regular-season finale, Strong’s team secured the conference’s BCS bid, and Louisville was selected to participate in its second BCS bowl game, the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Under Strong’s watch, the Cardinals raced out to a 9-0 start this year, the best in school history, and finished the regular season with double-digit wins for the fifth time in school history. Outside of the preseason poll, the Cardinals were ranked in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll the entire season and maintained a top-25 status in 14 of the 15 Associated Press polls (including earning a No. 25 ranking in the preseason).
Through Dec. 1, statistically, the Cardinals rank in the top-25 nationally in five different categories: passing efficiency (No. 16), pass defense (No. 19), turnover margin (tied for 21st), passing offense (No. 24) and total defense (No. 25).
Strong is one of 10 finalists – the only one from the BIG EAST – for the coach of the year award: Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Urban Meyer (Ohio State), Jim Mora, Jr. (UCLA), Nick Saban (Alabama), Mark Richt (Georgia), Bill Snyder (Kansas State), Bill O’Brien (Penn State), Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson).
Established in 2006, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year recognizes coaches who demonstrate sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence both on and off the field.
Starting today and carrying through Dec. 20, fans can select Strong as their Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year by visiting CoachoftheYear.com on their PC, tablet or mobile device and posting a pre-populated tweet.
As part of Liberty Mutual's partnership with the National Football Foundation, a selection committee of more than 50 College Football Hall of Fame players and coaches, as well as national college football media, will evaluate the coaches based on their responsibility, integrity and on-field success to help determine the four coaching winners from FBS, the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II and Division III.
Winners are ultimately determined using the following voting weight: fan voting (20 percent), College Football Hall of Fame (55 percent) and media (25 percent).
Liberty Mutual will announce the four winners the morning of the BCS National Championship game, Jan. 7, 2013, in south Florida. The FBS coaching winner will receive a $50,000 donation from Liberty Mutual to the charity or charities of his choice, as well as a $20,000 scholarship grant in their name to their school's alumni association. Since 2006, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award has celebrated the work of its 21 winners by donating more than $1.5 million to over 90 charities and college alumni scholarship funds.