2014 AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year Winners Announced

The American Football Coaches Association is proud to announce its 2014 Assistant Coach of the Year winners. One assistant coach from the five divisions of college football has been selected for their dedication to their teams and communities.

Each year, staff representatives from NCAA and NAIA football-playing schools are asked to nominate an assistant for consideration. From those nominations, a winner is selected by the AFCA Public Relations Committee. The winners of this award were selected from Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and the NAIA.

The Assistant Coach of the Year award was first presented in 1997 and was created to honor assistant coaches who excel in community service, commitment to the student-athlete, on-field coaching success and AFCA professional organization involvement. 

The 2014 honorees are as follows:
Football Bowl Subdivision–Gary Campbell, Running Backs Coach, University of Oregon
Football Championship Subdivision–Robert Wimberly, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Coach, Liberty University
Division II–Joel Williams, Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator, Delta State University
Division III–John Davis, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, Gallaudet University
NAIA–Alan Dykens, Defensive Coordinator, Graceland University

“Once again, five outstanding assistant coaches have been selected for their dedication, not only to their teams, but to their communities,” said Executive Director Grant Teaff. “Often times, the head coach receives much of the credit for his team’s success, but any head coach is only as good as his assistants. Much of an assistant coach’s work is done behind the scenes. It is our pleasure to bring it to the forefront.”

The criteria for the award is not limited to on-field coaching ability or the success of the team and players that these assistant coaches work with. Service to the community through charitable work and other volunteer activities, participation in AFCA activities and events, participation in other professional organizations and impact on student-athletes are all taken into account in the selection process.

Winners of the Assistant Coach of the Year Award will receive a plaque to commemorate the award. They will be honored at the President’s Kickoff Luncheon, Monday, January 12 at the 2015 AFCA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.

AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year Finalists for 2014

Football Bowl Subdivision
Scottie Montgomery, Duke
Bill Cubit, Illinois
Gary Campbell, Oregon   

Football Championship Subdivision
Robert Wimberly, Liberty
Chuck Hepola, Nicholls State
Ricky Coon, Southeast Missouri State

Division II
Joel Williams, Delta State
Alvin Parker, Elizabeth City State
Zach Tinker, South Dakota Mines

Division III
Scott Kirchoff, Bethel (Minn.)
John Davis, Gallaudet
Vince DiGaetano, SUNY Maritime

NAIA
Miguel Paredes, Central Methodist
Alan Dykens, Graceland
Mike Gutelius, Lindsey Wilson

Assistant Coach of the Year Notes
89 assistant coaches from 70 different schools have been honored by the AFCA since the inception of the award in 1997 ... Campbellsville (NAIA),  Carson-Newman (Div. II) and Hampton (FCS) lead all schools with three winners each ... Campbellsville’s three winners came in three straight years (1997-Samuel Wickliffe, 1998-Eric Graves, 1999-Haywood Riner) ...  Carson-Newman won its three awards in 2003 (Mike Turner), 2009 (David Needs) and 2013 (Denares Waites) ... Hampton won its three awards in 1997 (Alonzo Lee), 1998 (John Wright) and 2003 (Donovan Rose) ... Air Force, Benedictine (Kan.), Bethel (Minn.), Carroll (Mont.), Central (Iowa), Morningside, Mount Union, Northwest Missouri State, Wabash  and Winona State have had two winners each ... A total of 61 assistant coaches from five divisions were nominated in 2014.

The Winners
Football Bowl Subdivision
Gary Campbell, Running Backs Coach, Oregon: Campbell has spent 32 years at Oregon, making an impact on countless lives ... Campbell is the longest tenured coach in the University of Oregon’s history and leads amongst FBS coaches in the longest continuous full-time service at one school ... Coach Campbell donates most of his free time to charities and organizations and is an honorary board member of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, as well as a partner for the Special Olympics ... Campbell is on the advisory board of Healthy Moves, a program that encourages elementary school students to keep active ... The Hospitalized Veterans Chairty named Campbell the Donor of the Year while he also gives towards the American Bible Society ... In his 31 years of coaching at Oregon, Campbell has honed his running backs to become some of the best in the nation, providing the Ducks with a strong counterpart to their pass attack ... Oregon’s rushing offense has ranked among the top six in the nation every year since 2007, and has led the Pac-12 in rushing for nine consecutive years, including 2014 ... Campbell’s running backs own nearly every rushing record at Oregon having set 15 of the school’s 17 single-season rushing marks as well as the top seven career rushing records.

Football Championship Subdivision
Robert Wimberly, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Coach, Liberty: Wimberly is currently in the 12th season of his coaching career, eight of which have been spent with the Liberty Flames ... While at Liberty, Wimberly started and runs a youth organization called Y.P.W.I., Young People With Integrity. The program is designed to help young men and women in the community learn about the importance of developing character ... Coach Wimberly has made an impact on the lives of several of his players, helping them move on after their playing careers to be coaches themselves, or to play in the NFL or serve their country ... Coach Wimberly has also been active in the AFCA, participating in the FCS Assistants Forum at the annual AFCA convention ... Wimberly’s first stint at Liberty was as the linebacker’s coach for five years before joining head coach Turner Gill’s staff at Buffalo in 2009 ... Since returning to the Flames with Gill, Wimberly has been in charge of running the defense ... Wimberly led his unit to a top 15 defense in his first season and a top 10 total defense in his second season, as well as a top defense in several other categories.

Division II
Joel Williams, Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator, Delta State: Williams has been coaching football for more than 30 years, coaching from the high school level all the way to the professional ranks ... Williams mentors kids in the Cleveland, Miss., area to become offensive line managers and keep them close to football and the Delta State team ... Williams is also an active supporter of the Delta State youth football camp, where he helps young kids by teaching them life lessons through the game of football ... Coach Williams has been an active member of the AFCA, the Alabama Coaches Association and the Arkansas Football Coaches Association, serving on committees and starting offensive line clinics ... Williams was also voted the top speaker at the ARFCA Coaches’ Clinic in Hot Springs, Ark. ... Coach Williams is currently in his second stint as offensive coordinator at Delta State, guiding some of the best offenses the school has ever fielded ... Upon coming back to Delta State in 2013, Williams took a team that averaged 24.7 points per game and improved it to 40 ppg, as well as improving numerous other categories, such as yards per game and third down conversions.

Division III
John Davis, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, Gallaudet:  Davis has been a coach at Gallaudet, the nation’s deaf and hard of hearing University, for seven years, the past six of which have been as the Bison’s defensive coordinator ... Davis, who is hearing, had to learn American Sign Language to communicate to his players ... Davis and his wife, Octavia, are Virginia Certified Therapeutic Foster Parents who work primarily with children who have experienced some type of trauma or have mental impairments ... Along with raising his own three children, Davis and Octavia are currently also taking care of three sisters to prevent them from being split up or deported ... Through the foster agency, Davis is also active in many charity drives, such as “Stuff the Bus,” which gathers Christmas gifts for foster children, and “Clothes for Bros,” which collects clothing donations for disadvantaged teens ... Davis has also volunteered at Relay for Life and organizes the Gallaudet football team’s yearly garden project and move-in day activities and speaks at multiple events a year ... Davis and his family regularly open their home to those Gallaudet students that can’t go to their own homes over the holidays and frequently host 30 or more students for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners ... Under Davis’ watch, Gallaudet’s defense has broken or tied all 28 defensive school records in the school’s 120-year history of football ... Davis helped the Bison win its first Eastern Collegiate Football Conference championship last season as Gallaudet’s football team became the first men’s team to make a NCAA tournament appearance in school history.

NAIA
Alan Dykens, Defensive Coordinator, Graceland: Dykens is in his eighth season on the Graceland coaching staff and sixth as the Yellowjacket’s defensive coordinator ... Coach Dykens was a four-year letter winner at Graceland before beginning his coaching career at the school in 1994 as the tight ends and long snappers coach ... Dykens is very active in his community, acting as a volunteer for the Special Olympics Spring track meet, the Junior Jackets football club, the Ronald McDonald House and various other local and international community events ... Dykens is also a staff member at SPECTACULAR - Youth Sports and Activities Camp and an Associate Paster of Community of Christ with the Bloomington congregation ... Coach Dykens is very active with the AFCA, writing several articles for AFCA publications and chairing the Convention Services Committee ... Dykens has coached 12-plus All-Americans and more than 20 of his players have been awarded First-Team All-Conference honors in the last 10 years.

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