The Honors Luncheon, presented by Amway, is one of the most cherished events at the AFCA Convention. It provides the AFCA and its coaches the opportunity to recognize and celebrate fellow coaches who have had an impact on the game of football and the football coaching profession. Some of the awards presented at the honors luncheon include the Outstanding Achievement Award, the Academic Achievement Award, the Trailblazer Award and the Assistant Coach of the Year Awards.
In past years the Tuss McLaughry and the Power of Influence Awards have been part of the Honor’s Luncheon. This year the recipient of the Tuss McLaughry Award will be recognized during the American Football Coaches Awards show on Tuesday evening, while the Power of Influence Award will be given during the Monday general session.
The Outstanding Achievement Award celebrates AFCA members, past and present, who have achieved outstanding success while coaching football. This year’s recipient is long-time assistant coach, George Belu.
The Academic Achievement Award is given to FBS institutions with the highest NCAA Graduation Success Rate, at least 15 students in the GSR cohort and a 100 percent graduation rate. This year, the award will be presented to the University of Alabama, the University of Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee State University, Northwestern University, the University of Utah, Utah State University and the University of Virginia.
The Trailblazer Award recognizes early leaders in the football coaching profession who coached at historically black colleges and universities and who made advancements for minorities in the profession. This year’s honoree is former head coach at Jackson State and Tennessee State, John Merritt.
The Assistant Coach of the Year award was established to honor assistant coaches who excel in community service, commitment to the student-athlete, on-field coaching success and AFCA professional organization involvement. The 2017 honorees are: FBS–Van Malone, Defensive Coordinator, SMU; FCS–Brian Rock, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks, College of the Holy Cross; Division II–Taylor Breitzman, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology; Division III–Oscar Rodriguez, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Secondary, University of La Verne; NAIA–Billy Hickman, Offensive Coordinator, Tabor College.
In addition to the four awards mentioned above, the Honors Luncheon will also showcase some of the national champions of the 2017 season. The AFCA will present the National Championship trophies to the FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA winners. The National Football Foundation will also be on hand to present their trophies to those divisional winners as well.
Join your fellow coaches in honoring some of the most influential coaches in the profession, and those who had great seasons both on the field and in the classroom. If you didn’t purchase your tickets during preregistration, you can still purchase tickets on site for $30. But hurry before they’re all gone.