There are a number of FBS coach of the year awards – almost as many as there are FBS teams – and each have varying degrees of meaning. But at the top of of the heap is the AFCA Coach of the Year. Instead of being honored by a group of writers, or online voters, Cutcliffe has been honored by his peers. The AFCA Coach of the Year award is also the oldest award on the block, first coming to existence in 1935.
Cutcliffe led Duke to a 10-4 record, the school’s first 10-win season, the school’s first trip to the ACC title game. The Blue Devils went on an eight-game winning streak from late September through the end of November, capped the year in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and earned a No. 23 final ranking in the AP poll and a No. 22 ranking in the USA Today Coaches’ poll.
In addition to Cutcliffe bringing home the FBS honor, North Dakota State’s Craig Bohl was named the organization’s FCS Coach of the Year, Northwest Missouri State’s Adam Dorrell won the Division II crown, Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Lance Liepold was named the Division II Coach of the Year, and Grand View (Iowa) head coach Mike Woodley was named the NAIA Coach of the Year.
Each of the divisional winners took home his respective division’s national title. The four coaches went a combined 59-0 this season.