SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — The American Football Coaches Association capped its 2012 convention by presenting its top coaching award — AFCA Coach of the Year — to five outstanding coaches today. LSU's Les Miles, Sam Houston State's Willie Fritz, Wayne State's Paul Winters, Wisconsin-Whitewater's Lance Leipold and Saint Xavier's Mike Feminis are the 2011 AFCA National Coach of the Year winners. Miles in FBS, Fritz in FCS, Winters in Division II, Leipold in Division III and Feminis 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.
Les Miles led LSU to a 14-0/13-1 record, the Southeastern Conference title and an appearance in the BCS National Championship game. He has a 104-38/103-39 overall record in his 11 years as head coach, with a BCS National Chapionship in 2007, two SEC titles and AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors in 2011. In his seven seasons as head coach for the Tigers, Miles has led LSU to six top 10 finishes and five/six bowl victories.
In 2011, Willie Fritz led the Bearkats to a 14-1 record, a Southland Conference title and an appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision national title game. In two years at Same Houston State, Fritz owns a 20-6 record and an overall record of 117-53 at both Sam Houston State and Central Missouri. The national title appearance is a first for the football program.
Paul Winters led the Warriors to a school record of 12 wins in 2011 and the program's first appearance in the Division II national title game, earning him AFCA Division II Coach of the Year honors for the first time. With those 12 wins, Winters became the winningest head coach in Wayne State history with 48 wins in his eight years as head coach. He also earned AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors in 2010 after leading the Warriors to a then-school record nine wins, while also earning the most conference wins in one season with eight.
Lance Leipold led Wisconsin-Whitewater to a 15-0 record, its seventh consecutive Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship and its fourth NCAA Division III championship in 2011. Leipold also earned AFCA Coach of the Year honors in 2007, 2009 and 2010 when he led Whitewater to national titles in those seasons. Leipold has a five-year career record of 72-3 at Whitewater. The Warhawks have advanced to the Division III title game in each of Leipold's first five seasons at the school.
Mike Feminis led the Cougars to a 14-1 record and the NAIA national championship this season to earn NAIA National Coach of the Year honors for the first time. The national title is the first for Saint Xavier in any sport. Feminis has an overall record of 116-41 in his 13 years as head coach at SXU. Feminis previously earned AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors in 2009.
The winners will be honored Tuesday evening at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
Mike Feminis, Saint Xavier University
First AFCA National Coach of the Year Award ... Led the Cougars to a 14-1 record and the NAIA championship this season ... Has a 13-year career record of 116-41 at Saint Xavier ... The title is the first for Feminis in 13 seasons as head coach, and the first in any sport for Saint Xavier ... Earned AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors in 2009 when he led the Cougars to the program's first undefeated regular season, the Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League championship and a trip to the NAIA semifinals for the second time in four years ... Saint Xavier has won or shared seven MSFA titles under Feminis, while he has been named MSFA Coach of the Year three times (2005, 2009 and 2010).
Previous Regional Coach of the Year Honors: NAIA, Region 4, 2009
This press release courtesy of Vince Thompson, the Director of Media Relations for the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA)