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Sterlin Gilbert - Eastern Illinois University

2013-CoY-180x225FootballScoop is proud to announce that Sterlin Gilbert (Eastern Illinois) as the 2013 FootballScoop FCS Coordinator of the Year presented by ProGrass.

It's incredibly difficult - if not impossible - for an offensive coordinator to have a better season than Gilbert did at Eastern Illinois in 2013. In FCS, no team gained more yards than Eastern Illinois, no team scored more points than Eastern Illinois, and no quarterback threw for more yards than Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Graoppolo. 

Sterlin Gilbert

Let's start with Garoppolo. The senior connected on 375-of-568 passes for 5,050 yards with 50 touchdowns against nine interceptions (a 168.33 pass efficiency rating) while adding 209 rushing yards and four scores. For his efforts, Garoppolo was named the Walter Payton Award winner as the top player in FCS. 

As a unit, Eastern Illinois led FCS by averaging 589.5 yards of total offense per game, placed second nationally with 372.4 passing yards per game and ranked 20th in FCS with 217.1 rushing yards per game. Gilbert's unit was the only FCS offense to rank among the top five nationally in passing offense and the top 20 nationally in rushing offense. 

The Panthers had five games in which they rushed for more than 200 yards and passed for more than 240 yards: 248 rushing yards and 491 passing yards against Illinois State, 283 rushing yards and 382 passing yards against Southeast Missouri State, 303 rushing yards and 299 passing yards versus Murray State, 203 rushing yards and 501 passing yards against UT-Martin and 313 rushing yards and 240 passing yards versus Tennessee State.

"Sterlin has developed a really special relationship with his quarterbacks in a very short amount of time," said his head coach, Dino Babers. "He has a unique ability to draw a great bond and a huge amount of loyalty between himself, his quarterbacks and the head coach even though I can be pretty hard on them at times."

Unsurprisingly, Eastern Illinois led FCS in scoring offense, averaging 48.2 points per game. Their lowest scoring output of the season was 37 points. And they topped 51 points seven times, including a season high of 70 against UT-Martin. 

Gilbert's offense led FCS in first downs (395), tied for sixth in turnover margin (+14), placed 21st in third down conversions (44.3 percent) and ranked 25th in red zone offense (85.5 percent). In addition to Garaoppolo, Eastern Illinois had five players garner First Team All-Ohio Valley honors and three more win Second Team All-Ohio Valley accolades. 

Gilbert's stellar offense helped Eastern Illinois win the Ohio Valley title and post a 12-2 overall record. The Panthers reached the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs. 

Gilbert graduated from Angelo State in 2002 and then plunged into the Texas high school coaching ranks, coaching at Springtown, Abilene Cooper, San Angelo Lake View and Temple before joining Babers' staff at Eastern Illinois in 2012. Gilbert will serve as the offensive coordinator at Bowling Green in 2014. 

The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Mike Adams - South Carolina State, Aaron Best - Eastern Washington, Scott Boone - William & Mary, Gilbert and Chris Klieman - North Dakota State) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.

Gilbert will receive his award and be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention in January.

Previous winners of the FCS Coordinator of the Year award are Heishman Northern (Prairie View A&M, 2008), Bob Shoop (William & Mary, 2009), Nick Rapone (Delaware, 2010), Scott Stoker (Sam Houston State, 2011) and Chris Klieman (North Dakota State, 2012). 

keystats

1st Nationally - Scoring Offense           1st Nationally - First Downs
1st Nationally - Total Offense           2nd Nationally - Passing Offense
            
 

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Author: Zach Barnett
Zach Barnett is a native of Denton, Texas and a graduate of the University of Texas. He joined FootballScoop in 2012 after two years at the National Football Foundation. His hobbies include watching college football, reading about college football and writing about college football.