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Towson coach Rob Ambrose claims 25th Eddie Robinson Award

Before the season started, Towson was picked to finish last in CAA Football.

However, the Tigers turned the standings upside down this season, putting together a 9-3 record, winning an outright CAA title and hosting a game in the second round of the FCS playoffs.

Having guided his team to new heights, Towson coach Rob Ambrose was honored as the 2011 Eddie Robinson Award recipient, given annually to the FCS Coach of the Year. The Sports Network presents and Fathead.com sponsors the award.

Ambrose is the 25th recipient of the award, which is named for legendary Grambling State head coach Eddie Robinson, the second- winningest coach in Division I history with 408 victories.

Now in his third season as a head coach, it was rocky at first for Ambrose, a Towson alumnus, as his teams struggled to 2-9 and 1-10 finishes in his first two seasons.

"You have to get to a point where you can actually discuss winning, and it took two years before that could even be a conversation," Ambrose said. "The first time I walked out on the field against a CAA team and looked at my guys versus another CAA team, we looked like a JV team, and I'm thinking 'My gosh, this is terrible.'"

This season, winning was finally part of the discussion, as the Tigers went 5-2 against teams ranked in The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top 25 and reeled off three different three-game winning streaks. Towson hadn't had a three-game winning streak since 2006.

Ambrose appeared on 110 of the 132 ballots and received 59 first-place votes, edging out Sam Houston State���s Willie Fritz.

Ambrose is the fourth coach from the CAA (formerly the Atlantic 10 and Yankee Conference) to win the Eddie Robinson Award, and the first since James Madison coach Mickey Matthews was honored in 2008.

Eddie Robinson Award Voting........1st....2nd....3rd....4th....5th....Total

1. Rob Ambrose, Towson.............59.....25......9.....14......3.....453

2. Willie Fritz, Sam Houston St....40.....29.....25.....13......7.....424

3. Bobby Wilder, Old Dominion.......7.....15.....24.....13.....17.....210

4. Craig Bohl, North Dakota State...2.....13......9.....11.....16.....127

5. Pete Adrian, Norfolk State.......7......5......6......9.....14.....105

6. Andy Coen, Lehigh................3......7.....10.....10......3......96

7. Kevin Kelly, Georgetown..........2......8......7.....12......8......95

8. Jeff Monken, Georgia Southern....2......5......9.....11......7......86

9. Watson Brown, Tennessee Tech.....4......5......4......8......9......77

10. Tim Murphy, Harvard..............1......6......5......0......9......53

11. Chuck Priore, Stony Brook........0......2......4......7......7......41

12. Anthony Jones, Alabama A&M.......2......2......2......4......4......36

13. Bob Ford, Albany.................1......2......4......4......2......35

14. Nigel Burton, Portland State.....0......1......4......4......2......26

15. Robin Pflugrad, Montana..........1......1......2......3......4......25

16. Chris Mussman, North Dakota......0......1......2......1.....10......22

17. Gary Harrell, Howard.............0......3......0......3......2......20

18. Clint Conque, Central Arkansas...0......1......1......3......4......17

19. Ron Garagher, San Diego..........1......1......2......0......1......16

20. Chris Creighton, Drake...........0......0......3......1......3......14

21. *Jack Cosgrove, Maine............0......0......0......1......0.......2

* - Write-in vote.

Voting points on 5-4-3-2-1 basis.