DANBURY, Conn.—Columbia Head Football Coach Al Bagnoli was named the 2017 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Association FCS Coach of the Year, the organization announced on Thursday morning. In addition, Columbia senior defensive back Cameron Roane and senior punter Parker Thome were both named to the All-ECAC FCS Second Team.
With the award, Bagnoli collects his third Coach of the Year Award honor following the Ivy League Coach of the Year and AFCA Region 1 FCS Coach of the Year announcements.
On Monday, Bagnoli was named a one of five finalists for the AFCA FCS National Coach of the Year Award. The AFCA will present the regional winners and announce the 2017 National FBS, FCS, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA Coach of the Year award winners at its awards show presented by Amway, which will take place on Tuesday, January 9 at its annual convention in Charlotte, N.C. The event will be broadcast live on the USA Today Sports Facebook page.
Bagnoli is also one of 18 finalists for the STATS FCS Eddie Robinson Award, the organization’s National FCS Coach of the Year.
In his third season leading the Columbia football program, Bagnoli guided the Lions to their best overall record (8-2), best Ivy League record (5-2) and highest Ivy League finish (second place) in 21 years since 1996. He guided the Lions from a 3-7 record in 2016 to an 8-2 record this year. Columbia started the season with six consecutive wins, the best start to a season in 21 years (since 1996) and put together a seven-game win streak which proved to be Columbia’s longest win streak since 1935. Columbia also defeated Princeton, Penn and Dartmouth in a season for the first time since 1971.
In 2015, Bagnoli inherited a Columbia program that snapped a 24-game losing streak (Nov. 17, 2012-Oct. 10, 2015) with a 2-8 record in his first year. He finished 3-7 in 2016, then broke out with an 8-2 overall record this season. In the four years prior to Bagnoli’s arrival, Columbia went 4-36 (2011-14).
Columbia came within one game of winning Bagnoli’s 10th Ivy League title and tying for the most Ivy League championships for a head coach in league history. With an Ivy League title, Bagnoli would become the first coach in conference history to win an Ivy League title with two different programs (Columbia & Penn, 9).
Established in 1938, the ECAC is the nation’s largest conference, ranging in location from Maine to Georgia and westerly to Missouri. The ECAC hosts numerous championships in men’s and women’s sports across NCAA Divisions I, II and II, offering opportunities for thousands of student-athletes. The ECAC has offered NCAA Division I competition in a variety of sports including men’s and women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming & diving, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s indoor tennis. For more information, visit www.ecacsports.com.