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2014 Division II Coordinator of the Year - Finalists


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. Finalists were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors and other athletic department personnel. The winner will be chosen by the previous winners of this award and will be announced on Friday December 19th.

The 2014 FootballScoop Coaches of the Year will be recognized and will receive their awards at an event held in their honor at the American Football Coaches Association's annual convention in January in Louisville, KY.

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)


Rich Wright, Northwest Missouri State

Northwest Missouri State posted a perfect 15-0, national championship season in 2013, but Rich Wright's defense found a way to record an even more successful year in 2014. The Bearcats led not only Division II but the entire NCAA by allowing just 213.1 yards per game. Northwest Missouri State also ranked fifth nationally in scoring defense, holding nine of their 12 opponents to 15 points or less, second in rushing defense, fourth in passing defense, second in pass efficiency defense, third in third down defense and third in first downs defense. Simply put, it's hard to do better than that.

Key Stats

  • 1st in the entire NCAA in total defense (213.1 yards per game allowed)
  • 5th in scoring defense (14.8 points per game allowed)
  • 2nd in rushing defense (70.5 yards per game allowed)
  • 4th in passing defense (142.6 yards per game allowed)
  • 2nd in pass efficiency defense (87.68)
Hunter Hughes

Hunter Hughes, Colorado State-Pueblo

If the primary goal for any defensive coordinator is to keep the opponent off the scoreboard and force turnovers, Hunter Hughes may have had the best year of any defensive play-caller in Division II. His Thunderwolves rank fourth nationally in scoring defense, limiting eight of their 13 foes to 14 points or less. In fact, only once from Sept. 27 to Nov. 8 did CSU-Pueblo allow more than 13 points. Hughes' unit also ranked second in Division II in turnovers with 28 interceptions and 14 fumble recoveries. The Thunderwolves, who at 12-1 will play in the Division II semifinals this weekend, also rank 14th in rushing defense, sixth in pass efficiency defense and seventh in third down defense.

Key Stats

  • 2nd in turnovers forced (42)
  • 4th in scoring defense (14.2 points per game allowed)
  • 6th in pass efficiency defense (93.05)
  • 12th in total defense (293.9 yards per game allowed)
Josh Kline

Josh Kline, Shepherd

A year ago, Josh Kline won the FootballScoop Division II Coordinator of the Year award thanks to a defense that held opponents to 48.3 rushing yards and 13.4 points per game. This season, the Rams got better. Shepherd held opponents to 44.3 rushing yards per game, 22 yards better than the next best NCAA rush defense, and 13 points per game. All told, opponents ran the ball 271 times against Shepherd and managed only 1.63 yards per carry and a single touchdown. And it's not as if their pass defense was easy pickings, either. Shepherd ranked 14th in pass efficiency defense and forced twice as many turnovers (22) as its offense committed (11).

Key Stats

  • 1st in the NCAA in rushing defense (44.3 yards per game)
  • 1.36 yards per carry allowed
  • 2nd in scoring defense (13.0 points per game allowed)
  • 2nd in total defense (225.7 yards per game allowed)
  • 1st in third down defense (23.2 percent)
Eric Tripp

Eric Tripp, Humboldt State

A year ago, Humboldt State finished 0-11 and ranked 121st in total offense, 147th in rushing offense, 155th in passing efficiency and 156th in scoring offense. Fast forward 12 months, and Eric Tripp has transformed the Jacks' offense and, in turn, their record. Humboldt State went 8-2 this fall after ranking 20th nationally in scoring offense while doubling its rushing output and upping its total offense average by nearly 100 yards per game. In its 10 games this season, Humboldt State scored at least 27 points nine times, hit the 30-point barrier nine times, and surpassed its entire 2013 scoring output on Oct. 4.

Key Stats

  • 38.8 points per game (a 150% increase over 2013)
  • 202.6 rushing yards per game (a 101% increase over 2013)
  • 437.1 yards per game (a 28% increase over 2013)
  • 144.38 passing efficiency (a 50% increase over 2013)

Jake Dickert, Minnesota State Mankato

The Minnesota State Mankato defense has been one of the most effective units in the country all season, and is a large part of their 13-0 record and deep playoff run in 2014. Dickert, who leads the charge for the Mavericks on defense, heads a unit that leads all of Division II in scoring defense (12.8 points per game), and throughout the course of the entire regular season, only two teams scored 17 points or more. Also during that 11-game span, the Mankato defense held eight of their eleven opponents to 14 points or less. When it came to getting off the field on third down, the Mavericks were #2 in the country, allowing teams to convert on just 23% of their attempts. Dickert's gang also ranked in the top 25 in pass efficiency defense, rush defense, and turnover margin.

Key Stats

  • 1st in scoring defense (12.8 points per game allowed)
  • 2nd in 3rd down conversion defense (23.7 percent)
  • 5th in turnover margin (+1.38)
  • 9th in pass efficiency defense (99.01)
  • 24th in rushing defense (111.8 yards per game allowed)

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