CoYLogo2015

Rich Wright – Northwest Missouri State University

FootballScoop is proud to announce that Rich Wright is the 2015 FootballScoop Division II Coordinator of the Year presented by ProGrass.

Wright won the FootballScoop Division II Coordinator of the Year award in 2014 — and he had an even better year in 2015.

For starters, Northwest Missouri State booked another 15-0 national championship season, while holding 12 of their 15 foes to 17 points or fewer and eight to 10 or less, including two shutouts — good for a Division II-leading 12.3 scoring average. The Bearcats won all four of their playoff games by at least 15 points, including a 34-7 whipping of Shepherd (W. Va.) in the national championship, a game in which Northwest Missouri State allowed only seven first downs, 136 passing yards and an incredible minus-39 rushing yards.

It was that kind of season for Wright and company, as the Bearcats led the country with 224 yards per game and in yards per play allowed (3.59).

Northwest Missouri State was fanatical against the run, limiting foes to 890 yards and seven touchdowns on 497 carries. Both their rushing defense (59.3 yards per game allowed) and yards per carry average (1.79) were the best in Division II.

That’s not to say the Bearcats were any more forgiving against the pass, though. In fact, their numbers — 188-of-440 for 2,470 yards with 13 touchdowns against 26 interceptions — were good enough to lead Division II in pass efficiency defense.

Add it all up and you get a defense that finished first in total defense, yards per play allowed, rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, scoring defense, and sacks, and a mere second in takeaways and third in tackles for loss.

Individually, defensive lineman Collins Bevins earned a spot on the First Team AP All-America team, was named a Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association Co-Defensive Player of the Year and garnered a spot as a finalist for the Cliff Harris Award, given to the top defensive player in Division II, Division III and NAIA. Safety Kevin Berg was named D2CCA First-Team All-American alongside Bevins. Bevins and Berg were joined on the All-MIAA team by defensive lineman Brandon Yost, linebacker Brock Sherman, linebacker Jacob Vollstedt and safety Bryce Enyard.

Wright jumped into coaching as an undergraduate, serving at Cortland State before earning his degree at Dana College in Nebraska. He coached as a graduate assistant at Northwest Missouri State in 1995-96, and then made stops at William Penn College, Central Methodist, Dakota State and St. Ambrose. He returned to Northwest Missouri State in 2004 as defensive line coach and special teams coordinator, and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2011.

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 (Nick Fulton [Colorado School of Mines], Matt Rahl [McKendree], Zack Patterson [Slippery Rock] and Wright) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year’s winner.

Wright will be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention next week.

Previous winners of the Division II Coordinator of the Year award are Tim Beck (Pittsburg State [Kan.], 2008), Scott Preston (Arkansas Tech, 2009), Ken Collums (Abilene Christian [Texas], 2010), Hunter Hughes (Colorado State-Pueblo, 2011), Paul Tortorella (Indiana [Pa.], 2012) and Josh Kline (Shepherd [W. Va.], 2013).

keystats

1st Nationally – Total Defense           1st Nationally – Pass Efficiency Defense
1st Nationally – Rushing Defense           1st Nationally – Scoring 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.