UT Martin's Simpson named finalist for coach of the year

UT Martin's Simpson named finalist for coach of the year

MARTIN, TN (KFVS) - UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson is one of 15 finalists for the Eddie Robinson FCS National Coach of the Year Award presented by STATS.

The list includes at least one representative from all 13 FCS conferences.

STATS will present the esteemed Robinson Award, which is being presented for the 30th time this year, at the national awards banquet on the eve of the NCAA Division I FCS Championship Game on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas.

The award is named for the legendary former Grambling head coach.

A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the STATS FCS Eddie Robinson Award following the regular season.

After losing 13 starters, Simpson has the Skyhawks at 7-4 overall (with three losses against FBS opponents) with have an opportunity to claim a share of the Ohio Valley Conference title with a win at No. 2 ranked Jacksonville State on Saturday.

If UTM wins that game they will earn the automatic bid to the 24-team FCS Playoffs, which would mark the team's first OVC Championship and playoff appearance since 2006.

UT Martin is currently one of just 13 teams nationally with one or fewer losses to an FCS opponent in 2016.

The Skyhawks defense is currently rank third nationally in turnovers gained (26), eighth in passes intercepted (16) and 21st in total defense (323.9 yards/game) while the team's offense is first in the OVC and 17th nationally in scoring (34.5 points/game).

Two prior OVC coaches have won the Eddie Robinson Award, Houston Nutt with Murray State in 1995 and Tony Samuel with Southeast Missouri in 2010. A season ago JSU's John Grass was the runner-up for the prestigious honor.

2016 STATS Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Finalists
Brian Bohannon, Kennesaw State
Rod Broadway, North Carolina A&T
Steve Campbell, Central Arkansas
Andy Coen, Lehigh
Broderick Fobbs, Grambling State
Mike Houston, James Madison
K.C. Keeler, Sam Houston State
Chris Klieman, North Dakota State
Dale Lindsey, San Diego
Jerry Mack, North Carolina Central
Bubba Schwiegert, North Dakota
Jason Simpson, UT Martin
Bob Surace, Princeton
Brent Thompson, The Citadel
Chris Villarrial, Saint Francis

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