12/6/2010 12:00:00 AM
Samuel Named AFCA Region 3 Coach of the Year
Dec. 6, 2010
By Jeff Honza
Southeast Missouri State Sports Information
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Southeast Missouri Head Coach Tony Samuel was named the American Football Coaches Association Region 3 Coach of the Year Monday.
The AFCA recognizes five regional Coach of the Year winners in each of the Association's five divisions: Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and NAIA. The winners are selected by Active members of the Association who vote for coaches in their respective regions and divisions.
Samuel, who was also named the 2010 Ohio Valley Conference Roy Kidd Coach of the Year, led Southeast to its first-ever OVC title and NCAA Playoff appearance.
After being picked next to last in the OVC's Preseason Poll, the Redhawks finished 9-3 overall and 7-1 in conference play en route to arguably their best season in the 104-year history of their football program.
Samuel's 2010 squad broke numerous team and individual single-season records. The Redhawks had 10 players named to the All-Ohio Valley Conference Football Team, with a school record eight earning first-team honors. Among the first-team selections was OVC Offensive Player of the Year Henry Harris. Harris also finished fifth in the overall voting for the Walter Payton Award.
Samuel guided Southeast to a 5-0 record at home, marking the first time the Redhawks went undefeated at Houck Stadium since they joined the OVC and NCAA Division I ranks. Southeast's nine victories tied for the most in a season with the 1937 and 1955 squads.
The Redhawks ranked nationally in several statistical categories this season and rated among the Top-10 teams in the country for four-straight weeks prior to their 37-17 second round NCAA Division I Football Championship loss to Eastern Washington.
All this success came after Southeast went 2-9 overall in 2009. The 6.5-game improvement this season ranks as one of the best turnarounds in Football Championship Subdivision history.
Samuel is one of 24 first-time winners of the AFCA Regional Coach of the Year Award in 2010.
The 2010 Regional Coach of the Year winners will be recognized at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner at the 2011 AFCA Convention in Dallas, Texas. The dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, January 11.
The AFCA will announce its five 2010 National Coach of the Year winners at the AFCA Convention, as well. All head coaches who were eligible for regional honors are eligible for national honors.
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 bet-
ter 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.