NEW YORK—Columbia Football Coach Al Bagnoli was named one of 18 finalists for the STATS FCS Eddie Robinson Award, the organization announced on Monday. The Eddie Robinson Award honors the FCS National Coach of the Year.
In his third season at Columbia, the Lions finished in second place in the Ivy League with a 5-2 conference record and an 8-2 overall record their most overall wins, most league wins and highest league finish in 21 years (since 1996). In addition, the Lions started the season with a 6-0 record, 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).
Named for the legendary coach of Grambling State, past winners of the Robinson Award include Mark Duffner, Erik Russell, Chris Ault, Jim Tressel, Houston Nutt, Andy Talley, Paul Johnson, Joe Glenn, Jerry Kill, Jerry Moore and two-time winners Mickey Matthews, Sean McDonnell and Craig Bohl.
This year’s list includes at least one coach from all 13 FCS conferences. A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the recipient.
The Eddie Robinson Award will be presented at the national awards banquet in Frisco, Texas on January 5, 2018.
STATS FCS Eddie Robinson Award Finalists
Mike Ayers, Wofford
Al Bagnoli, Columbia
Brian Bohannon, Kennesaw State
Rod Broadway, North Carolina A&T
Kevin Callahan, Monmouth
Fave Cecchini, Valparaiso
Curt Cignetti, Elon
Charlie Fisher, Western Illinois
John Grass, Jacksonville State
Will Healy, Austin Peay
Mike Houston, James Madison
Dan Hunt, Colgate
Chris Klieman, North Dakota State
Mike London, Howard
Fred McNair, Alcorn State
Tim Rebowe, Nicholls
Pete Rossomando, Central Connecticut
Demario Warren, Southern Utah