Mickey Matthews wins second Eddie Robinson Award
James Madison coach honored as most outstanding FCS college football head coach
Matthews is the first two-time winner of the Robinson Award, which is presented annually to the top coach in FCS. Matthews also won the Robinson Award in 1999, his first season at James Madison.
"Coaching is all I ever wanted to do," said Matthews. "Everyone, growing up in the south, knows who Eddie Robinson is. To be linked to that name is truly an honor and it is a humbling experience."
Matthews' JMU squad finished 10-1 in the regular season and was ranked No. 1 for the final eight weeks of the regular season in the Sports Network FCS top-25 poll. The Dukes also won the championship of the Colonial Athletic Association and were seeded No. 1 in the NCAA playoffs. It marked the best regular-season record in school history.
James Madison beat nine teams ranked at one point in the TSN poll on its way to the NCAA semifinals, including two No. 1 teams, Appalachian State and Richmond. The Dukes suffered their first loss since the opening game of the season, a 35-27 setback to Montana on Dec. 12, finishing the 2008 campaign at 12-2.
In 10 years at the helm of JMU, Matthews has become the winningest coach in school history, with a record of 76-46. He led the Dukes to the 2004 national championship with a 13-2 mark and was also the defensive architect of the great Jim Donnan-coached Marshall teams that were national finalists in 1991-93 and 1995, and won the 1992 national championship.
Matthews received 26 first-place votes out of the 102 ballots that were cast by a panel of sports information directors and selected media who regularly cover FCS games. He edged Rich Ellerson of Cal Poly by 45 points, with Ron McBride of Weber State finishing third.
The Sports Network established the Eddie Robinson Award in 1987. Past recipients of this prestigious honor include current FCS coaches, Jerry Moore of Appalachian State, Northern Iowa skipper Mark Farley, New Hampshire's Sean McDonnell, Villanova's Andy Talley, Mike Ayers of Wofford and Elon's Pete Lembo.