Larry Harmon – University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

FootballScoop is proud to announce that Larry Harmon is the 2017 FootballScoop Division III Coordinator of the Year presented by AstroTurf as selected by prior winners.

If the object of defensive football is simply keeping the other team off the scoreboard, Mary Hardin-Baylor had the best pound-for-pound defense in all of college football in 2017.

The Crusaders led all divisions, NCAA and NAIA, by limiting opponents to 7.3 points per game and a total of 14 touchdowns in 15 games. UMHB allowed only two opponents to score more than 10 points, and none more than 21, while limiting 10 foes to single digits and pitching four shutouts — including a 24-0 blanking of Brockport in the Division III semifinals.

Even in the Cru’s one loss of the season, a 12-0 setback to Mount Union in the Stagg Bowl, UMHB’s defense stood tall. Harmon’s (above, left) defense limited Mount Union to less than half its yearly average in total offense (475 yards per game to 229 vs. UMHB), and first downs (22 to 10) and 20 percent of its Division III-leading 50.5 points per game average.

In addition to leading the nation in scoring defense, Mary Hardin-Baylor also ranked in the top five nationally in total defense (223.3 yards per game), yards per play (3.38), and rushing defense (50.7 yards per game) while leading the nation in red zone defense and ranking third with a 23.5 percent third down conversion rate. In just 25 attempts, opponents mustered a national-worst seven touchdowns and two field goals.

Mary Hardin-Baylor also ranked in the top 20 nationally in pass efficiency defense, limiting opponents to 5.34 yards per attempt with 10 touchdown passes against 20 interceptions. On the ground, foes managed just 1.51 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns on a total of 505 carries.

Defensive tackle Haston Adams was named a First Team All-American by D3Football.com, defensive end Ajay Fanene and cornerback Kris Brown were chosen as Second Team All-America performers, and linebacker Tevin Jones was selected as a Third Team All-American. Adams was named the American Southwest Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, Fanene the ASC Defensive Lineman of the Year. Jones and Brown joined Adams and Fanene on the First Team All-ASC squad, while three more players were picked as Second Team All-ASC honorees.

Harmon has spent 18 seasons on Pete Fredenburg’s staff, the last 15 as defensive coordinator. A South Dakota State graduate, Harmon began his career at his alma mater before spending two seasons on staff at Northwest Missouri State, where he helped the Bearcats win the 1998 national championship.

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 Fox [Brockport], Chris Kappas [Mount Union], Wallie Kuchinski [St. Thomas], Eric Treske and Tyler Wellman [Lakeland], Luke Venne [Wisconsin-Oshkosh], Craig Yeast [Franklin] and Harmon) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year’s winner.

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

Previous winners of the Division III Coordinator of the Year award are Glen Fowles (Williamette [Ore.], 2008), Jim Zebrowski (Wisconsin-Whitewater, 2009), Vince Kehres (Mount Union [Ohio], 2010), Wallie Kuchinski (Saint Thomas [Minn.], 2011), John O’Grady (Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 2012), Brian Borland (Wisconsin-Whitewater, 2013), Jackson Vaughan (Linfield, 2014), Chris Kappas (Mount Union [Ohio], 2015) and Brandon Staley (John Carroll [Ohio], 2016).

keystats

1st Nationally – Scoring Defense           2nd Nationally – Yards Per Play Allowed
1st Nationally – Red Zone Defense           3rd Nationally – Third Down Defense

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National columnist – Zach joined the staff in 2012…and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott’s writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.