May 27, 2003
Indianapolis, Ind. – Notre Dame head football coach Tyrone Willingham will receive the Black Coaches Association’s Male Coach of the Year award during the association’s 16th annual banquet held on June 7 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Indianapolis.
Willingham joins a distinguished list of people being honored that evening including Virginia athletics director Craig Littlepage (Administrator of the Year), Southern Illinois volleyball coach Sonya Locke (Female Coach of the Year) and Fort Worth (Texas) Dunbar High School boys basketball coach Robert Hughes (High School Coach of the Year). Also scheduled for the evening is the presentation of Lifetime Achievement Awards to former Grambling State football coach Eddie Robinson, retired Winston-Salem State basketball coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines and current Kansas women’s basketball coach Marian Washington.
Willingham is entering his second season as the head football coach at Notre Dame after serving in the same position at Stanford for seven seasons. Willingham led the Irish to a 10-3 record in his initial campaign and a trip to the 2003 Toyota Gator Bowl. The native of Jacksonville, N.C., who led Notre Dame to eight straight wins to open the 2002 campaign, saw his team rise as high as No. 4 in the polls last year before finishing the season at No. 16. Willingham became the only first-year coach in Notre Dame history to lead his team to 10 wins during his rookie campaign.
For his efforts, Willingham received a number of awards in 2002 including being named the Home Depot Coach of the Year and the George Munger Award Coach of the Year presented by the Maxwell Football Club. He also became the first college football coach in history to receive The Sporting News’ Sportsman of the Year Award and he was recently tabbed No. 6 on the 101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports by Sports Illustrated.