JMU’s Houston named Coach of the Year

Th following comes directly from James Madison:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Just over 72 hours removed from winning his first career national championship, James Madison head coach Mike Houston was named American Football Coaches Association National Coach of the Year for the Football Championship Subdivision, as announced Tuesday night live on CBS Sports Network at the AFCA Convention.

It is the second time in school history JMU’s head coach won the award, as Houston joined Mickey Matthews, who was awarded the accolade in 2004 after leading the Dukes to their first national championship in 2004.

In his first season at the helm, Houston guided JMU to the NCAA Division I National Championship with a 28-14 triumph in the title game against Youngstown State on Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas. He led the program to a 14-1 overall record and unblemished 8-0 mark in Colonial Athletic Association play. It was a program record for wins in a season and just the second time the Dukes finished conference play unbeaten.

JMU produced six wins against nationally-ranked opponents over the final seven games, five of which ranked in the top 13. The Dukes were the only team to go undefeated against the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), at 14-0, and as of last night, hold the longest win streak in all of Division I, at 12 straight games.

Houston was named CAA Coach of the Year in his first season at JMU and later the AFCA Region I Coach of the Year for the second straight season. He was additionally a finalist for the STATS Eddie Robinson Award, in which he finished third.

He coached 14 players to All-CAA honors, seven of whom were eventually named All-Americans. The All-America list from JMU includes senior running back Khalid Abdullah, senior receiver/returnerRashard Davis, redshirt junior safety Raven Greene, redshirt senior offensive lineman Mitchell Kirsch, redshirt senior cornerback Taylor Reynolds, junior quarterback Bryan Schor and redshirt junior offensive lineman Aaron Stinnie.

During the historic championship season, JMU set CAA records for scoring (700), rushing offense (4,125), total offense (7,612) and first downs (380). Nationally, JMU led the FCS in winning percentage (93.3%), completion percentage (70.8%), team pass efficiency (181.69), first downs (380), interceptions had (21) and punt return average (26.65).

Individually, Schor paced the country in completion percentage (73.1%), pass efficiency (186.2) and yards per pass attempt (10.11). Abdullah led the FCS in rushing yards (1,809), rushing touchdowns (22) and total touchdowns (25). All three totals by Abdullah were also JMU single-season records. On special teams, Davis led the nation with four punt returns for a touchdown, both a school and CAA record.

Houston was one of six coaches in the FCS to be considered for the national award. Joining him were fellow region coach of the year recipients Rod Broadway (North Carolina A&T), John Grass (Jacksonville State), Jerry Mack (North Carolina Central), Kyle Schweigert (North Dakota) and John Stiegelmeier (South Dakota State).

Award History: The AFCA began recognizing district coaches of the year following the 1960 season. The awards were established the same year Eastman Kodak agreed to sponsor the AFCA Coach of the Year award. Prior to 1960, the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain had sponsored the program, which recognized one national Coach of the Year.

The AFCA first recognized eight district winners in each of two divisions: university and college. In 1972, a ninth district was added in each division. In 1983, the award was changed to recognize regional winners instead of district winners, and the number of divisions was increased from two to four, and five regional winners were selected in each division. This resulted in a more equitable selection process and better represented the make-up of the membership. At the same time, the new system increased the number of honorees from 18 to 20. In 2006, the AFCA Division II Award was split into separate Division II and NAIA divisions, giving us the 25 winners we now recognize.

Voting Process
The current balloting procedure involves selection of 25 regional winners: five regional winners in each of the five divisions – FBS, FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA. Following regional voting, five national winners – one from each division – are chosen. All schools with eligible AFCA head coaches are listed on the national ballots and members are not limited to voting for regional winners.