Competitors have spoken highly of Head Jackrabbit Football Coach John Stiegelmeier and his team for some time. While they are not impressed with the faculties that SDSU houses, Stiegelmeier is always held in high esteem.
This respect from area coaches and rivals has promoted Stiegelmeier to receive national attention as he is up for two different coaching awards. The American Football Coaches Association has selected him as the Division I Football Championship Subdivision Region Five Coach of the Year. He has also been named as one of 25 finalists for the 2007 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award.
In 11 years as head coach for the Jacks, Stiegelmeier ranks second in career victories at SDSU with a 68-51 overall record and a conference record of 42-35. The last six years have boasted consecutive winning seasons.
Other regional winners include Dave Clawson of Richmond (Va.) and Tom Masella of Fordham (N.Y.) in a tie for Region One; Al Lavan of Delaware State in Region Two; Danny Hope of Eastern Kentucky for Region Three; and Mark Farley of Northern Iowa in Region Four.
The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award honors college football coaches who best exemplify responsibility and excellence on and off the field of play.
The finalists were announced Dec. 4 at the inductee event at the College Football Hall of Fame event in New York City. A winner for each of the four college football divisions will be named on ABC-TV on Dec. 29 during a special presentation hosted by Hall of Fame Sportscaster Keith Jackson and ESPN Analyst Kirk Herbstreit at 5:30 p.m. (ET).
“More than a half-million fan votes were cast for 597 college football coaches this season, a tremendous and passionate outpouring of support from college football fans across the nation,” said Greg Gordon, Liberty Mutual vice president, Consumer Marketing. “Each finalist embodies what makes this award different from any other: responsibility-not only to his own team and players, but also to his school and his community.”
Division winners will be determined between Dec. 5 and Dec. 15 by a compilation of fan votes (20 percent), votes cast by a committee of College Football Hall of Fame coaches and players (55 percent) and the national college football media (25 percent).
During these two weeks, the public can visit www.coachoftheyear.com to vote for their favorite coach. Fan votes during this second phase count for 20 percent of each coach’s score.
Liberty Mutual will give $50,000 to each winner to support his civic and charitable activities and $20,000 in scholarship to his school’s alumni association. Each winner is also recognized in the permanent Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year display at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind.
Other finalists for the Subdivision Coach of the Year are Matt Ballard of Morehead State (Ky.), Mark Farley of Northern Iowa, Kevin Higgins of The Citadel (S.C.) and Jerry Kill of Southern Illinois.