CONWAY, SC Coastal Carolina University football head coach David Bennett was named American Football Coaches' Association (AFCA) Regional Coach of the Year, announced today by the organization. Bennett won the award for I-AA's Region 2, which includes coaches from the Big South Conference, Southern Conference and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
In just the program's second year of play, Bennett Led the Chanticleers to a 10-1 record and the school's Big South Conference title in 2004 with a perfect 4-0 mark. The team was honored with 14 All-Big South selections, including eight First Team honorees and Bennett received the league's Coach of the Year award. CCU also made its first-ever appearance in the four major national polls, finishing the regular season in the top 25 of the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, The Sports Network and Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette and was receiving votes in the I-AA.org poll. He has a two-season record of 16-6 at Coastal Carolina and is 79-23 overall as a head coach, including nine years at Catawba.
"We are very blessed to receive this award," Bennett said. "Every year when we go to the convention, we try to get it changed to be the 'Staff of the Year' which is really what it is, as we could not have accomplished everything without them. But it even goes beyond that, as the award also belongs to our president Dr. Ron Ingle, our administration, sports medicine staff, equipment, video and game staff, volunteers, faculty, students and all the supporters of our football program. So many people play an integral part in our success that it really is just a tribute to them, as they are as much a part of it as anyone. With their support and hard work as well, we are looking forward to the bright future of Coastal Carolina football."
Among this year's honorees, Bennett is one of five coaches to have won the award previously, as Bennett won it three times at Catawba in 1994, 1999 and 2000. Other multiple winners are Southern Illinois Jerry Kill (second overall). Texas-El Pasos Mike Price (fifth), Shippensburgs Rocky Rees (second) and Hardin-Simmons Jimmie Keeling (second).
The AFCA recognizes five regional Coach of the Year winners in each of the Associations four divisions: I-A, I-AA, Division II (NCAA Division II and NAIA schools) and Division III. The winners are selected by active members of the Association who vote for coaches in their respective regions and divisions.
The 2004 Regional Coach of the Year winners will also be recognized at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner at the 2005 AFCA Convention in Louisville, Ky., where the National Coach of the Year honors for the four groups will be announced. The dinner is scheduled for January 11.
Division I-A: Virginias Al Groh (Region 1), Auburns Tommy Tuberville (Region 2), Wisconsins Barry Alvarez (Region 3), Texas-El Pasos Mike Price (Region 4) and Utah's Urban Meyer (Region 5).
Division I-AA, New Hampshires Sean McDonnell (Region 1); Coastal Carolinas David Bennett (Region 2); Jacksonville States Jack Crowe (Region 3); Southern Illinois Jerry Kill (Region 4) and California Polytechnics Rich Ellerson (Region 5).
Division II: Shippensburgs Rocky Rees (Region 1); Arkansas Techs Steve Mullins (Region 2); Michigan Techs Bernie Anderson (Region 3), Lindenwoods Pat Ross (Region 4) and Colorado School of Mines Bob Stitt (Region 5).
Division III: Trinitys (Conn.) Chuck Priore (Region 1); Delaware Valleys G.A. Mangus (Region 2); Hardin-Simmons Jimmie Keeling (Region 3); Carthages Tim Rucks (Region 4) and Concordia-Moorheads Terry Horan (Region 5).