Stats Perform has announced 20 finalists for the 2023 Eddie Robinson Award, which is given annually to the national coach of the year in Division I FCS college football and presented by FedEx Ground.

The award, first presented in 1987 and in its 37th season, is named for legendary Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson.

All 13 FCS leagues, comprised from 15 conferences overall, are represented by a Robinson Award finalist. The winner, to be selected by a national voting panel, will be announced on Dec. 7 and honored at the FCS National Awards Banquet on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas – the eve of the FCS championship game.


2023 Eddie Robinson Award Finalists

Mark Ferrante, Villanova (CAA Football)

Team Record: 9-2, 7-1 (tie/first); Notable: Wildcats earned title share and the automatic playoff bid in largest conference in FCS history (15-team CAA)

Greg Gattuso, UAlbany (CAA Football)

Team Record: 9-3, 7-1 (tie/first); Notable: Great Danes shared CAA championship for first time, improving from 3-8, 2-6 in 2022

Bobby Hauck, Montana (Big Sky Conference)

Team Record: 10-1, 7-1 (first); Notable: Became Big Sky’s all-time winningest coach while Grizzlies secured first conference title since 2009 and No. 2 playoff seed

Clay Hendrix, Furman (Southern Conference)

Team Record: 9-2, 7-1 (first); Notable: Led conference champs to No. 2 in-season ranking – the highest by SoCon team in 11 years

Tre Lamb, Gardner-Webb (Big South-OVC Football Association)

Team Record: 7-4, 5-1 (tie/first); Notable: Runnin’ Bulldogs earned share of title and automatic playoff bid in first-year combo conference

Tim Murphy, Harvard (Ivy League)

Team Record: 8-2, 5-2 (tie/first); Notable: Added most league wins record to his all-time Ivy mark as Crimson earned share of first title since 2015

Bob Nielson, South Dakota (Missouri Valley Football Conference)

Team Record: 9-2, 7-1 (second); Notable: Coyotes rebounded from 3-8, 2-6 season in 2022 to finish second in MVFC, earn No. 3 playoff seed

Trei Oliver, North Carolina Central (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)

Team Record: 9-2, 4-1 (tie/first); Notable: Led Eagles to their highest-ever FCS ranking (Nov. 7) and a playoff bid for the first time

Tim Rebowe, Nicholls (Southland Conference)

Team Record: 6-4, 7-0 (first); Notable: Colonels improved from 3-8, 3-3 in 2022 to win outright Southland championship

Danny Rocco, VMI (Southern Conference)

Team Record: 5-6, 4-4 (tie/fifth); Notable: In first season guiding a fourth different FCS program, Rocco led Keydets’ improvement from 1-10, 0-8 in 2022

Jimmy Rogers, South Dakota State (Missouri Valley Football Conference)

Team Record: 11-0, 8-0 (first); Notable: In Rogers’ first season, defending national champion Jackrabbits gained FCS-high six Top 25 wins and No. 1 seed in playoffs

Pete Rossomando, Lamar (Southland Conference)

Team Record: 6-5, 5-2 (third); Notable: In Rossomando’s first season, Cardinals had more wins than three previous seasons combined (5-23)

Jerry Schmitt, Duquesne (Northeast Conference)

Team Record: 7-4, 6-1 (first); Notable: Dukes gained sixth NEC title and third playoff bid under Schmitt since 2011 season

Larry Scott, Howard (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)

Team Record: 6-5, 4-1 (tie/first); Notable: Bison are Celebration Bowl-bound for the first time after winning MEAC championship

Willie Simmons, Florida A&M (Southwestern Athletic Conference)

Team Record: 10-1, 8-0 (SWAC East first); Notable: Rattlers are 22-2 in three SWAC seasons, will play in conference championship game for first time

Todd Stepsis, Drake (Pioneer Football League)

Team Record: 8-3, 8-0 (first); Notable: Bulldogs earned first-ever bid to playoffs after claiming their first PFL title since 2012

John Troxell, Lafayette (Patriot League)

Team Record: 9-2, 5-1 (tie/first); Notable: Leopards gained share of PL title, automatic bid to playoffs while posting highest win total since 1981

Scotty Walden, Austin Peay (United Athletic Conference)

Team Record: 9-2, 6-0 (first); Notable: Governors won their final nine games of regular season to secure outright title in a renamed conference

Todd Whitten, Tarleton (United Athletic Conference)

Team Record: 8-3, 4-2 (tie/second); Notable: Under Whitten, Texans posted fourth straight winning record (and best) in their final Division I reclassifying season

Chris Wilkerson, Eastern Illinois (Big South-OVC Football Association)

Team Record: 8-3, 4-2 (tie/third); Notable: In Wilkerson’s second season, Panthers improved from 2-9 and gained as many wins as five previous years combined (8-43)

Past recipients of the Eddie Robinson Award include Mark Duffner, Erk Russell, Chris Ault, Jim Tressel, Houston Nutt, Andy Talley, Paul Johnson, Joe Glenn, Mike Ayers, Jerry Kill, Jerry Moore, K.C. Keeler, Deion Sanders, John Stiegelmeier and two-time recipients Mickey Matthews, Sean McDonnell and Craig Bohl.

Like the Robinson Award, the winners of the Walter Payton Award (FCS offensive player of the year), Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman player of the year), Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) and FedEx Ground Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award will be honored at the national awards banquet.

(Here are the All-Time Recipients of the FCS National Awards)