NASHVILLE, TENN. — James Madison’s Mike Houston was voted 2016 AFCA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Coach of the Year, announced tonight by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) during the inaugural American Football Coaches Awards show, being televised on CBS Sports Network.
Houston was selected by a vote of the Active I AFCA FCS members. The AFCA has named a Coach of the Year since 1935. The AFCA Coach of the Year award is the oldest and most prestigious of all the Coach of the Year awards and is the only one chosen exclusively by coaches.
Houston earned his first AFCA FCS National Coach of the Year award by leading James Madison to a 14-1 record, the Colonial Athletic Association title and the program’s second FCS National Championship – all in his first season. He has an overall record of 57-20 in his six years as a head coach at James Madison, The Citadel and Lenoir-Rhyne. Houston was the first coach in the history of The Citadel to guide the team to a conference title within his first two years as head coach. The Bulldogs won a share of the Southern Conference title in 2015 and made it to the second round of the FCS Playoffs.
During his three years as head coach at Lenoir-Rhyne, Houston led the Bears to a 29-8 record with three straight outright or shared South Atlantic Conference (SAC) titles. In his final season in 2013, he guided Lenoir-Rhyne to a 13-2 record and an appearance in the Division II national title game. Houston earned SAC Coach of the Year honors all three years he was the head coach for the Bears.
Houston began his coaching career at Forbush (N.C.) High School in 1994 as the defensive coordinator. After two seasons, he became the defensive coordinator at T.C. Roberson (N.C.) High School. He was at T.C. Roberson for 10 years with the last five years as head coach. Houston went 42-18 and guided the team to its first-ever conference championship. In 2006, he joined the college ranks as associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Brevard College. After one season, Houston was named defensive coordinator at Lenoir-Rhyne, a position he would hold for three years before being named head coach.
Houston has won conference coach of the year awards in five of his six years as a collegiate head coach. He has also been named an AFCA Regional Coach of the Year the past two years.
2016 Finalists for AFCA FCS National Coach of the Year
Rod Broadway, North Carolina A&T; John Grass, Jacksonville State; Mike Houston, James Madison; Jerry Mack, North Carolina Central; Kyle Schweigert, North Dakota; John Stiegelmeier, South Dakota State
About the American Football Coaches Awards
The American Football Coaches Awards, featuring the AFCA National Coach of the Year, is currently being televised live on CBS Sports Network. This marks the first time the AFCA is televising its annual awards. The live one-hour program is airing from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee, and coincides with the AFCA’s annual convention. The host for the show, Eddie George, is a former Tennessee Titan running back and 1995 Heisman Trophy winner from Ohio State. Follow @WeAreAFCA or visit AFCA.com for more information.
All-Time Winners: A total of 163 men representing 119 institutions have been honored by the AFCA as National Coach of the Year since the program was established in 1935.
First Year Coach of the Year: Richmond’s Mike London and Valdosta State’s David Dean are the only coaches to earn AFCA National Coach of the Year honors in their first season as a head coach. Dean was the Division II winner in 2007; London was the FCS winner in 2008.
Most Schools: Jim Tressel and Brian Kelly are the only coaches to win AFCA National Coach of the Year honors at two different schools in two different divisions. Tressel earned AFCA honors at Division I-A Ohio State in 2002 and Division I-AA Youngstown State in 1991 and 1994. Kelly earned AFCA honors at Division II Grand Valley State in 2002 and 2003 and FBS Notre Dame in 2012.
Top Individuals: Larry Kehres of Mount Union is the only coach in AFCA history to win National Coach of the Year honors nine times. He earned the award in Mount Union’s national championship seasons of 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2008. Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Lance Leipold is in second place with six AFCA Division III Coach of the Year honors – 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. Penn State’s Joe Paterno sits third with five AFCA Coach of the Year honors. Paterno earned his awards in FBS in 1968, 1972, 1982, 1986 and 2005. Northwest Missouri State’s Mel Tjeerdsma (1998-99-2008-09) and Bob Reade of Augustana (Ill.) College are the only four-time AFCA Coach of the Year winners. Reade earned the honor in 1983-84-85-86 in College Division II (now Division III). Alabama’s Paul “Bear” Bryant (1961, 1971, 1973), Sioux Falls’ Kalen DeBoer (2006, 2008-09), Northwest Missouri State’s Adam Dorrel (2013, 2015-16), Grand Valley State and Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly (2002-03, 2012), Appalachian State’s Jerry Moore (2005-06-07), Youngstown State and Ohio State’s Jim Tressel (1991, 1994, 2003), Carroll’s Mike Van Diest (2003, 2007, 2010) and North Alabama’s Bobby Wallace (1993-94-95) are the only three-time Coach of the Year winners. Kehres, Leipold, Moore, Reade and Wallace are also the only coaches to win the award in three or more consecutive seasons.
Top Schools: Mount Union is the only institution to have a representative win the AFCA National Coach of the Year Award nine times. Northwest Missouri State and Wisconsin-Whitewater are the only schools with seven wins, while North Dakota State is the only school with six. Georgia Southern and Penn State are the only schools with five wins. Alabama, Augustana (Ill.), Grand Valley State, Michigan, Ohio State and Wittenberg are four-time winners.
Larry Kehres won all nine awards for Mount Union, while Joe Paterno won all five awards for Penn State. Lance Leipold’s six honors and Bob Berezowitz’s 2005 National Coach of the Year award account for Wisconsin-Whitewater’s seven honors. Mel Tjeerdsma’s four wins, plus Adam Dorrel’s three National Coach of the Year awards account for Northwest Missouri State’s seven honors. North Dakota State’s national winners are Don Morton (1983), Earle Solomonson (1986), Rocky Hager (1988, 1990) and Craig Bohl (2012, 2013). Paul Johnson (1999, 2000), Erk Russell (1986, 1989) and Tim Stowers (1990) are Georgia Southern’s honorees. Lloyd Carr (1997), Fritz Crisler (1947), Bennie Oosterbaan (1948) and Bo Schembechler (1969) are Michigan’s winners. Bill Edwards (1962, 1963) and his successor, Dave Maurer (1973, 1975), are responsible for Wittenberg being listed in the select four-win group. Gene Stallings earned Coach of the Year honors in 1992 to join his mentor, Bear Bryant, as Alabama’s four award winners. Augustana’s Reade accounts for all of his school’s awards. Ohio State’s Jim Tressel joins Carroll Widdoes (1944), Woody Hayes (1957) and Earle Bruce (1979) as one of the four Buckeye coaches to win the award. Chuck Martin (2005-06) joins Brian Kelly (2002-03) as the winners from Grand Valley State.
Appalachian State (Jerry Moore, 2005-06-07), Delaware (Harold “Tubby” Raymond, 1971-72; K.C. Keeler, 2010), Furman (Dick Sheridan, 1985; Jimmy Satterfield, 1988; Bobby Johnson, 2001), North Alabama (Bobby Wallace, 1993-94-95), Notre Dame (Frank Leahy, 1941; Ara Parseghian, 1964; Brian Kelly, 2012), Sioux Falls (Kalen DeBoer 2006, 2008-09), USC (John McKay, 1962, 1972; Pete Carroll, 2003) and Valdosta State (Chris Hatcher, 2004; David Dean, 2007, 2012) are all in the exclusive group of schools that each have three winners.
Two-Timers: Jim Butterfield, Ithaca (1988, 1991); Glenn Caruso, St. Thomas (Minn.) (2012, 2015); David Dean; Bill Edwards; Joe Glenn, Northern Colorado (1996-97); Rocky Hager; Mark Henninger, Marian (2014-15), Paul Johnson; Chuck Martin; Dave Maurer; John McKay; Gary Patterson, TCU (2009, 2014); Tubby Raymond; Darrell Royal, Texas (1963, 1970); Erk Russell and Andy Talley, Villanova (1997, 2009) are repeat winners.
Back-to-Back: Kalen DeBoer, Adam Dorrel, Bill Edwards, Joe Glenn, Mark Henninger, Paul Johnson, Larry Kehres, Brian Kelly, Lance Leipold, Chuck Martin, Jerry Moore, Tubby Raymond, Bob Reade, Mel Tjeerdsma, Bobby Wallace and Craig Bohl are the only coaches to win national honors in consecutive years. Kehres is the only coach to win three consecutive Coach of the Year awards twice, while Tjeerdsma is the only coach to win two consecutive Coach of the Year awards twice. Leipold won three straight from 2009 to 2011, then went back-to-back in 2013 and 2014, making him the only coach to accomplish that feat.
Fit to be Tied: In 2003, Brian Kelly and Mike Van Diest became the fourth duo in the history of the AFCA National Coach of the Year award to finish in a tie for the honor; they were also the first non-FBS coaches to share the award. Larry Coker and Ralph Friedgen finished in a tie for the honor in 2001. In 1964, Frank Broyles of Arkansas and Ara Parseghian of Notre Dame shared the award, and in 1970, Charlie McClendon of LSU and Darrell Royal of Texas were co-winners.