Sept. 17, 2008
DALLAS - With the start of fan voting today, the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced the organization's continued support of the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, the only award of its kind that allows fans to help decide who they believe exemplifies excellence in coaching.
"The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award acknowledges the leadership role that college coaches play in the communities in which they work and in the character development of their student- athletes," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "This award fits perfectly with our belief that to win on the field you have to be a leader for your players off the field too. We are proud to join Liberty Mutual in showcasing the best coaches from the collegiate gridiron at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana."
Created three years ago in partnership with the NFF, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award calls upon fans to vote for college football coaches in each NCAA division who exhibit the greatest sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and overall excellence - on the field and in the community. Fans can cast their votes daily at www.coachoftheyear.com now through December 6 while submitting thoughtful and compelling commentary in support of their selections.
Following the 2007 voting, which saw nearly one million fans participate, Liberty Mutual has enlisted NFF Chairman and football legend Archie Manning and ESPN broadcaster Kirk Herbstreit to promote the spirit of the award. Adding a new touch to the award this year, Manning and Herbstreit will participate in a series of weekly Web site "Coach's Corner" video discussions that will provide insights into excellence in coaching.
"I've had the pleasure of watching two of my sons play college and professional football at the highest level of competition, and recognize that their growth as players and young men is largely due to the coaches they have had as role models," said Manning. "In addition, as a college and professional athlete, I have seen first- hand the critical role coaches play in not only the lives of student-athletes, but in their communities as well."
The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year winners are celebrated in a permanent exhibit at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. As a way of highlighting the accomplishments of coaches, Liberty Mutual donates on behalf of each winner $50,000 to the charitable organizations of their choice and a $20,000 grant to the winning schools' alumni association for enrichment or scholarship activities. To-date, Liberty Mutual has donated $400,000 to local charities and alumni associations on behalf of Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award winners - a total that will climb to $680,000 after this season.
"We are proud of our partnership with the NFF and their role in helping to select the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year winners," said Greg Gordon, Liberty Mutual senior vice president, Consumer Marketing. "For more than 60 years, the NFF has been unparalleled in its efforts to preserve the rich history of college football. Having a home for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award in the College Football Hall of Fame is a fitting tribute to enormous contributions that coaches make in adding to the legacy of the game and the lives of the young people who they help build into tomorrow's leaders."
Coach of the Year Eligibility and Timeline:
All football head coaches at an NCAA-member college or university at all division levels are eligible for consideration. The timeline and process is:
* September 17 - December 6: Fans vote online at www.coachoftheyear.com. The top 25 coaches with the most fan votes in each of the four NCAA divisions will then advance to an evaluation process using an objective scoring model endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame. The scoring model criteria, detailed on the website, include coaching excellence, sportsmanship, integrity, academic excellence and community commitment.
* December 9: The finalists are announced before the National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner in New York City: 10 coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A); and five coaches from the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA), Division II, and Division III.
*December 12 - December 22: Fans vote online at www.coachofth eyear.com among the finalists. A selection committee of College of Football Hall of Fame- inducted players and coaches and national media members also cast votes. Winners are determined using the following voting weight: Hall of Fame 55%, Media 25%, and Fans 20%.
* December 31: The 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award recipients announced on ESPN during halftime of the Music City Bowl.
About Liberty Mutual Group
"Helping people live safer, more secure lives" since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group is a diversified global insurer and sixth-largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2007 direct written premium. Liberty Mutual Group ranks 94th on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. corporations, based on 2007 revenue. The company has over 41,000 employees located in more than 900 offices throughout the world. The eighth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual (www.libertymutual .com) sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance. The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering car and home insurance to employees and members of more than 10,000 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups.
About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, Play It Smart, the NFF-FWAA Football Forum, the NFF Gridiron Clubs of New York City, Dallas and Los Angeles, and scholarships of over $1 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF awards the MacArthur Trophy, the Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org