Jan. 8, 2013
NASHVILLE — The American Football Coaches Association capped its 2013 convention by presenting its top coaching award — AFCA Coach of the Year — to five outstanding coaches Tuesday.
Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, North Dakota State’s Craig Bohl, Valdosta State’s David Dean, St. Thomas’ Glenn Caruso and Morningside’s Steve Ryan are the 2012 AFCA National Coach of the Year winners. Kelly in FBS, Bohl in FCS, Dean in Division II, Caruso in Division III and Ryan in NAIA.
The winners are selected by a vote of the Active AFCA members (coaches at four-year schools) in the Association’s five divisions. 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 the coaches themselves.
Kelly led Notre Dame to a 12-1 record and an appearance in the BCS National Championship game. The Fighting Irish became the first team to start the season unranked in the Associated Press poll and advance to the BCS National Championship game and attempted to become the first team to start a season unranked and win the national championship since BYU in 1984.
He has a 199-68-2 overall record in his 22 seasons as head coach, with two Division II National Championships in 2002-03 at Grand Valley State, two Big East titles at Cincinnati and two AFCA Division II Coach of the Year honors in 2002-03. Kelly is the second coach to win AFCA National Coach of the Year honors in two different divisions. In his three seasons as head coach for the Fighting Irish, Kelly has led Notre Dame to 28-11 record.
Kelly becomes the third Notre Dame head coach to receive coach of the year honors from the AFCA, joining Frank Leahy in 1941 and Ara Parseghian in 1964.
The winners were honored Tuesday evening at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.