Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops was named Monday as one of eight finalists for the 2015 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, presented annually by the Football Writers Association of America.
Joining Stoops as finalists for the award are Clemson's Dabo Swinney, Houston's Tom Herman, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, Michigan State's Mark Dantonio, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly, Stanford's David Shaw and Temple's Matt Ruhle.
Stoops, who won the award in 2000 after leading Oklahoma to an undefeated season and it seventh national championship, is a finalist for the fifth time in his 17-year career (2000, 2003, 2006, 2008).
The 2015 Sooners, who were ranked No. 19 in both major preseason polls, claimed their ninth Big 12 championship, all under Stoops. OU (11-1 overall, 8-1 in Big 12) rebounded from an 8-5 record in the 2014 season to finish No. 4 in the final College Football Playoff rankings to earn a spot in the Capital One Orange Bowl. The Sooners will face top-ranked and undefeated Clemson on Dec. 31 at 3 p.m. CT in Miami Gardens, Fla., in the first national semifinal.
Stoops has piloted the Sooners to success on the back of a balanced attack. Oklahoma ranks third nationally in scoring offense at 45.8 points per game and sits at No. 21 in scoring defense, allowing just 20.8 points per contest. Led by Heisman hopeful Baker Mayfield, OU has topped 500 yards of total offense in each of its last seven games and has outscored its opponents by 228 points (32.6 average) during that span. The OU defense has been much improved in 2015, as Stoops has guided the unit to top-40 rankings in eight major statistical categories after ranking that high in just one in 2014. The Sooners lead the Big 12 in scoring defense, passing defense, rushing defense, total defense, passing defense efficiency and sacks this season. They also paced the league in conference play in interceptions.
The official presentation reception will be Jan. 9, 2016, in Scottsdale, Ariz., where the winning coach will be handed the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year bust during a reception at the media hotel in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship.
The FWAA has honored a major college coach with its coach-of-the-year award since 1957 when Ohio State's Woody Hayes won the inaugural honor. Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University, has been the FWAA's coaching namesake since 1997.