Eddie Robinson Award Finalists
PHILADELPHIA - After an 0-2 start and down to their fourth-string quarterback, University of Pennsylvania George A. Munger Head Coach of Football Al Bagnoli guided the Quakers to eight straight wins and an outright Ivy League title. In leading Penn back to the top of the Ivy League for the first time since 2003, Bagnoli was named as a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, given annually to the top coach in the FCS. Twenty candidates, including three former winners, were named Monday to the Eddie Robinson Award ballot by The Sports Network.
The National Coach of the Year ballots, along with ballots for the Walter Payton (Player of the Year) and Buck Buchanan (Defensive Player of the Year) awards, were released and distributed to voters on Monday. Voting will be conducted this week and winners will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 17 during the 23rd annual Sports Network awards dinner at the Marriott Hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn., the night before the FCS championship game.
This is the third time Coach Bagnoli has been named a finalist. He finished ninth in 2002 and eighth in 2003. The Ivy League does not name a Coach of the Year, but Bagnoli has won a league record seven outright Ivy titles in his 18-year tenure.
Bagnoli and the Quakers dropped each of their first two games to Top 25 opponents. They allowed just one offensive touchdown to No. 2/3 Villanova in a season-opening 14-3 loss. A week later, they fell in overtime on the road to Lafayette, who was ranked No. 24 in the latest Top 25 media and coaches poll. Following those two defeats, the Quakers never looked back and currently own the nation's fourth-longest winning streak. Coach Bagnoli recorded his fifth unbeaten Ivy season, which is more than any other Ivy team has ever achieved as a program.
Bagnoli finished the 2009 season with 122 wins at Penn, which is just two behind the all-time record set by George Woodruff more than 100 years ago.