SWOSU head coach Dan Cocannouer was one of 25 college football coaches recognized as American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Regional Coach of the Year winners.
The AFCA recognizes five regional Coach of the Year winners in each of the Association’s five divisions: Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and NAIA. Cocannouer earned the award for NCAA Division II’s Region 4. The winners are selected by active members of the Association who vote for coaches in their respective regions and divisions.
“What a tremendous honor, not for myself but for our football team,” Cocannouer said upon learning of his selection. “To tell you the truth, I think this award needs to be cut up into about 120 pieces because it belongs to all of our players and my assistant coaches for all their hard work this season. I’m very humbled to earn this award and share it with all the members of our SWOSU Football family.”
Cocannouer earns the distinction after leading the Bulldogs to their best season since joining NCAA Division II in 1997. He led the Bulldogs to an 8-4 record and a berth in the Live United Texarkana Bowl, their first postseason appearance since 1996. SWOSU was picked to finish eighth in the Great American Conference after finishing 3-7 in 2014, but Cocannouer’s resilient bunch won six straight games to end the regular season 8-3 and earn second place in the conference standings. The Bulldogs also reached the eight-win plateau for just the ninth time in the 107-year history of the program and the first time since they won the 1996 NAIA National Championship.
The 2015 Regional Coach of the Year winners will be recognized at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner at the 2016 AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas. The dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, January 12. The AFCA will also announce its five 2015 National Coach of the Year winners at the AFCA Convention with all head coaches who were eligible for regional honors being eligible for national honors as well.
Cocannouer becomes SWOSU Football’s first-ever Regional Coach of the Year award winner. The AFCA began recognizing district coaches of the year following the 1960 season, but the AFCA Division II Award was split into separate Division II and NAIA Divisions in 2006, giving them the 25 winners they now recognize. Paul Sharp – a 2016 SWOSU Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee – was named the AFCA National Coach of the Year in 1996 after leading the Bulldogs to the NAIA National Championship.
2015 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year Winners
Football Bowl Subdivision
Region 1: Dabo Swinney, Clemson University
Region 2: Jim McElwain, University of Florida*
Region 3: Kirk Ferentz, University of Iowa
Region 4: Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State University
Region 5: David Shaw, Stanford University
Football Championship Subdivision
Region 1: Buddy Teevens, Dartmouth College
Region 2: Mike Houston, The Citadel
Region 3: John Grass, Jacksonville State University*
Region 4: Rick Chamberlin, University of Dayton
Region 5: Ed Lamb, Southern Utah University
Region 1: Monte Cater, Shepherd University
Region 2: Will Hall, University of West Georgia
Region 3: Lee Owens, Ashland University
Region 4: Dan Cocannouer, Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Region 5: Rob Smith, Humboldt State University
Region 1: E.J. Mills, Amherst College
Region 2: Jeff Pukszyn, Moravian College
Region 3: Buck Buchanan, Hendrix College
Region 4: Mike Swider, Wheaton College*
Region 5: Pat Cerroni, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Region 1: Drew Cronic, Reinhardt University
Region 2: Kevin Donley, University of Saint Francis (Ind.)
Region 3: Mike Grossner, Baker University
Region 4: Steve Ryan, Morningside College*
Region 5: Donnie Yantis, Arizona Christian University