Jackson State coach Deion Sanders and longtime South Carolina State coach Buddy Pough are among 17 finalists for the 2021 Stats Perform FCS Eddie Robinson Award, which is presented to the national coach of the year in college football’s Division I subdivision.
Sanders led the Tigers to a 10-1 overall record and a perfect 8-0 mark in SWAC play.
JSU is slated to host Prairie View A&M in the SWAC Football Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 3 p.m.
Also read: ‘Marriage made in Heaven’: Deion Sanders officially introduced as Jackson State’s football coach
Currently, the Tigers rank No. 14 in the FCS Coaches Poll, No. 15 in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 Poll and No. 1 in the Ultimate HBCU Sports Football Poll.
“That, to me, is astounding,” a humbled Sanders said Monday after learning of the news. “Eddie Robinson, man. Just to be mentioned is truly a gift from God. To be nominated for that is awesome.”
Pough, who is in his 20th season, led South Carolina State to the program’s 18th conference championship and first-ever trip to the Celebration Bowl.
Photo: Gene Breland
2021 Stats Perform FCS Eddie Robinson Award Finalists
Brian Bohannon, Kennesaw State (Big South)
Team Record: 10-1, 7-0; Notable: Outright Big South champ is unbeaten against non-FBS teams.
Colby Carthel, Stephen F. Austin (AQ7)
Team Record: 8-3, 4-2; Notable: Lumberjacks have earned first playoff bid since 2014.
Glenn Caruso, St. Thomas (Pioneer)
Team Record: 7-3, 6-2; Notable: After move up from Division III, Tommies tied for third-best PFL record.
Bob Chesney, Holy Cross (Patriot)
Team Record: 9-2, 6-0; Notable: Crusaders beat FBS program UConn, pushed league win streak to 11.
Matt Entz, North Dakota State (MVFC)
Team Record: 10-1, 7-1; Notable: Outright MVFC champ has earned the No. 2 seed in playoffs.
Mark Ferrante, Villanova (CAA)
Team Record: 9-2, 7-1; Notable: CAA co-champ earned automatic playoff bid with win at James Madison.
K.C. Keeler, Sam Houston (AQ7)
Team Record: 10-0, 6-0; Notable: 2016 Robinson Award recipient has led reigning FCS champ to No. 1 playoff seed.
Chris Merritt, Bryant (Northeast)
Team Record: 7-4, 5-2; Notable: Bulldogs knocked off NEC champ Sacred Heart in best season since 2014.
Eric Morris, Incarnate Word (Southland)
Team Record: 9-2, 7-1; Notable: Cardinals captured first outright Southland title and automatic playoff bid.
Bobby Petrino, Missouri State (MVFC)
Team Record: 8-3, 6-2; Notable: Bears finished second in an MVFC that has six playoff teams.
Oliver “Buddy” Pough, South Carolina State (MEAC)
Team Record: 6-5, 5-0; Notable: After MEAC sweep, Bulldogs to play in Celebration Bowl for the first time.
Deion Sanders, Jackson State (SWAC)
Team Record: 10-1, 8-0; Notable: Tigers to play in SWAC championship game for first time since 2013.
Randy Sanders, East Tennessee State (Southern)
Team Record: 10-1, 7-1; Notable: Outright SoCon champ earned No. 7 playoff seed.
Jason Simpson, Tennessee-Martin (OVC)
Team Record: 9-2, 5-1; Notable: Outright OVC champ posted program-record nine-game win streak.
Troy Taylor, Sacramento State (Big Sky)
Team Record: 9-2, 8-0; Notable: 2019 Robinson Award recipient has led Hornets to Big Sky title, No. 4 playoff seed.
Buddy Teevens, Dartmouth (Ivy)
Team Record: 9-1, 6-1; Notable: Ivy co-champ has gone at least 8-2 in six of last seven seasons.
Brent Vigen, Montana State (Big Sky)
Team Record: 9-2, 7-1; Notable: First-time head coach has led Bobcats to No. 7 playoff seed.