The Football Writers Association of America announced on Thursday morning that Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly wins the 2012 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year. Kelly led Notre Dame to a perfect regular season and its first championship game appearance since 1988.
Kelly beat out a field of outstanding nominees, including: Dave Doeren, who led Northern Illinois to the Orange Bowl; Kevin Sumlin, winner of 10 games in his first year at Texas A&M, and Texas A&M’s first season in the SEC; and Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, among others.
The Eddie Robinson Award is Kelly’s second coach of the year honor. He received the Home Depot Coach of the Year Award during last week’s College Football Awards Show on ESPN. Kelly is the fourth Notre Dame head coach to receive this honor, joining Ara Parseghian, winner in 1964; Lou Holtz, who earned it in 1988; and Charlie Weis, winner in 2005.
Notre Dame continues to fill its trophy case this holiday season with this latest addition. Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te’o set a record for individual honors with seven. Te’o added the Ronnie Lott IMPACT Trophy over the weekend to his already impressive roll call of defensive and national player of the year selections. Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco was named the nation’s top assistant coach for his efforts leading the No. 1 overall scoring defense.
There’s one honor that trumps all others, which Notre Dame is pursuing on Jan. 7. That’s the Coaches’ Trophy, awarded each season to the winner of the BCS championship. The Fighting Irish square off with SEC champion Alabama for the right to hoist that crystal ball in Miami. Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been on this mountaintop several times. Despite successes at Cincinnati, this is Kelly’s first time.