Eddie Robinson Award
[For the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Eddie Robinson Award recognizing Louisiana athletes, coaches and administrators, please follow this link, Eddie Robinson Award – Louisiana]
The Allstate Sugar Bowl became the presenting sponsor for the Football Writers Association of America’s Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award in the summer of 2014. The Sugar Bowl hosts the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year reception, which is held at the site of the College Football Playoff National Championship each January, and helps with other facets of the award. The Eddie Robinson Award is presented annually the top head coach in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision.
- 2017: UCF’s Scott Frost Earns 2017 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Honor
- 2016: Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre Recognized as Nation’s Top Coach
- 2015: Kirk Ferentz from Iowa Named the 2015 Robinson Award Winner
- 2014: TCU’s Patterson Wins 2014 Robinson Award
“The Sugar Bowl Committee is proud to join the FWAA in honoring the country’s top collegiate coach and at the same time recognizing Louisiana’s own, Eddie Robinson, one of the greatest coaches of all time and a member of our own Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame,” said Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan. “We certainly appreciate the work of the FWAA and are excited about this partnership.”
It took Scott Frost only two seasons to turn what was a winless UCF team into an unbeaten one. For finishing a complete turnaround that included a conference championship and a New Year’s Day bowl victory, Frost earned the 2017 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. Representatives of the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the Robinson family presented the trophy at a January 6 reception in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship.
UCF (12-0) was the only unbeaten team in the Football Bowl Subdivision in the regular season; and the Knights followed that by defeating Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day. The Peach Bowl was Frost’s final game at UCF before taking over as head coach at his alma mater, Nebraska. As a senior quarterback, Frost helped lead the Cornhuskers to a perfect 13-0 record and a national championship in 1997.
“The Allstate Sugar Bowl is proud to be able to honor Coach Robinson, a Louisiana legend, by sponsoring this award,” said Stanley Cohn, the President of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Committee. “I would also like to congratulate Scott Frost on earning this honor. To take a team that was winless two years ago all the way to an undefeated season and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is a very impressive feat.”
Frost became the first coach whose school is not currently among the Power Five conferences to win the FWAA Coach of the Year Award since Air Force’s Fisher DeBerry in 1985.
“Scott Frost is one of the up-and-coming coaches in college football,” said 2017 FWAA President Dave Jones of the PA Media Group. “What he did at UCF was nothing short of remarkable in just two seasons.”
The other finalists for the honor were: Bill Clark of UAB; Lane Kiffin of Florida Atlantic; Jeff Monken of Army; Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma; Kirby Smart of Georgia; Dabo Swinney of Clemson; and Jeff Tedford of Fresno State.
The season prior to Frost’s arrival in Orlando from his post as Oregon’s offensive coordinator, the Knights were 0-12. In Frost’s first season in 2016, the Knights finished 6-7 and played in the AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando after making dramatic improvements on offense and defense.
That set the stage for 2017 and the Knights’ undefeated run to win the American Athletic Conference title. UCF led the FBS in scoring (49.4 points per game) with its “UCFast” offense and was tied for second in the country in turnover margin (plus-1.25 per game).
“I’m very proud of what this group of student-athletes and coaches has accomplished during my tenure at UCF,” Frost said. “The Knights should be in the conversation for the American Athletic Conference championship year in and year out. UCF should be a Top 25 program year in and year out. I believe this program is well on its way to establishing that level of success.
“The next head coach at UCF is inheriting an incredible group of young men and is more fortunate than he probably knows to be working at this place.”
The FWAA has honored a major-college coach with its Coach of the Year Award since 1957 when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes won the inaugural honor. Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University, has been the FWAA’s coaching namesake since 1997.
Robinson, who passed away on April 3, 2007 won 70.7 percent of his games during his illustrious career. Robinson’s teams won or tied for 17 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships after joining the league in 1959. His Tigers claimed nine Black College Football Championships during his career spent all at the same school.
Robinson, who was named by the FWAA in 1966 as “The Coach Who Made the Biggest Contribution to College Football in the Past 25 Years,” took his show often on the road to places such as the Louisiana Superdome, the Cotton Bowl, the Astrodome, Tiger Stadium and Yankee Stadium. And with his star-studded array of players, Robinson helped integrate professional football.
In 1949, Grambling standout Tank Younger was the first player from a Historically Black College to sign with an NFL Team (Los Angeles Rams). By 1963, Buck Buchanan became the first player from a Historically Black College to be selected first overall in the professional draft (American Football League by the Kansas City Chiefs). Over the years, Robinson produced a Who’s Who of professional football players, with more than 200 of his former players dotting professional rosters.
In 1975, with one of his greatest teams quarterbacked by eventual All-Pro Doug Williams, Robinson’s Grambling team and Alcorn State became the first college teams to play a game in the Louisiana Superdome. The next season, Robinson’s Tigers, along with Morgan State, became the first American college football teams to play in Japan.
A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Robinson has the keys to cities all over the planet, has been awarded in every form and fashion and has honorary degrees from many schools. His bust is one of two coaching awards that are displayed in the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
The Eddie Robinson Museum is open in his honor in Grambling, La., where numerous memorabilia reside, including another bust of the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.