LAWRENCE, Kan. – December 4, 2007 – Kansas Head Football Coach Mark Mangino has been named a finalist for the 2007 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, which honors the college football coaches who best exemplify responsibility and excellence on and off the field of play. Fans can cast a vote for Coach Mangino to win for Division 1-A by December 15 at www.coachoftheyear.com. The winner will be announced on December 29 during an ABC/ESPN special.
“More than a half-million fan votes were cast for 597 college football coaches this season, a tremendous and passionate outpouring of support from college football fans across the nation,” said Greg Gordon, Liberty Mutual vice president, Consumer Marketing. “Each finalist embodies what makes this award different than any other: responsibility – not only to his own team and players, but also to his school and his community.”
Mangino, the Big 12 Coach of the Year, led the Jayhawks to a program-best 11 victories and a bid to the FedEx Orange Bowl this year. KU opened the season with 11 straight wins, defeating such traditional powers as Kansas State, Colorado, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M on the road. Mangino’s Jayhawks also posted home wins over MAC champion Central Michigan, Southeastern Louisiana, Toledo, Florida International, Baylor, Nebraska and Iowa State at home. In KU’s victory over Nebraska on Nov. 3, Mangino’s crew dropped a record 76 points on their long-time nemesis.
The Jayhawks received very little fanfare before the season, but earned a spot in the top 25 after winning at then-No. 24 K-State on Oct. 6. After the team’s 11th straight victory to open the year, Kansas climbed as high as No. 2 in the Bowl Championship Series rankings, as well as No. 2 in the AP and USA Today polls. KU ended the regular season ranked in the No. 8 spot in all three polls.
Joining Coach Mangino as a finalist for Division 1-A are:
Rich Brooks, University of Kentucky
Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State University
Paul Johnson, U.S. Naval Academy
Mark Mangino, University of Kansas
Joe Paterno, Penn State University
Mark Richt, University of Georgia
Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia University
Jim Tressel, Ohio State University
Tommy Tuberville, Auburn University
Ron Zook, University of Illinois
Each winner receives $50,000 from Liberty Mutual to support his civic and charitable activities, $20,000 in scholarship to his school’s alumni association, and is recognized in the permanent Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year display at the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind.
During the initial fan-voting phase at www.coachoftheyear.com (September 6 – November 27), the top 25 vote getters in each division qualified to be evaluated by an objective model designed exclusively for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award and reviewed and endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame. The model arrived at the finalists by scoring each of these qualifying coaches in four areas: coaching excellence, sportsmanship and integrity, academic excellence, and community commitment.
Fan votes in this second phase account for 20 percent of each coach’s final score, with a voting committee of college football media (25 percent) and College Football Hall of Fame coaches and players (55 percent) contributing the remainder.
The winners will be announced December 29, 2007, on an ABC special presentation hosted by Hall of Fame Sportscaster Keith Jackson and Analyst Kirk Herbstreit at 5:30 p.m. (ET). The special award presentation will re-air January 8, 2008, on ESPN2 at 2:00 p.m. (ET).
About Liberty Mutual Group
“Helping people live safer, more secure lives” since 1912, Liberty Mutual Group (www.libertymutual.com) is a leading multi-line insurer in the U.S. whose largest line of business is personal auto based on 2006 direct written premium. A top ten provider of auto and home insurance to individuals, Liberty Mutual is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering its personal lines products to employees and members of more than 10,000 companies, credit unions, and alumni and professional associations. Liberty Mutual Group ranks 95th on the Fortune 500 list of largest corporations in the United States. The company, headquartered in Boston, Mass., employs over 40,000 people in more than 900 offices throughout the world.
About the National Football Foundation & the College Football Hall of Fame
With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. The NFF presents the MacArthur Trophy, the Draddy Trophy presented by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., Play It Smart, and scholarships of over $1 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. For more information, please visit www.footballfoundation.org or www.collegefootball.org.