Valparaiso head coach Cecchini named to Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award List

Tuesday, November 21, 2017
by Cody Bush, PFL Media Relations

CHICAGO – After taking a team that was picked to finish 10th of 11 in the Pioneer Football League to its first winning season since 2003, Valparaiso University football coach Dave Cecchini has been named one of 18 finalists for the 2017 STATS FCS Eddie Robinson Award, which is presented annually to the FCS Coach of the Year.

In addition, four PFL student-athletes were named as finalists for each of the STATS FCS Awards. San Diego quarterback Anthony Lawrence is a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, presented to the FCS Offensive Player of the Year. San Diego defensive lineman Jonathan Petersen is a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award for the FCS Defensive Player of the Year. Campbell quarterback Daniel Smith and Davidson running back Wesley Dugger are both finalists for the Jerry Rice Award for the FCS Freshman of the Year.

The Crusaders won three total games, all against the same opponent, in the four seasons prior to Cecchini’s arrival in 2014. Valparaiso finished this season 6-5 overall and 5-3 in league play by virtue of Saturday’s 8-7 win over Dayton, a team picked to finish second in the PFL and one the Crusaders hadn’t defeated since 2003. Valparaiso tied for third in the PFL, finishing ahead of six teams in the league standings for the first time since 1954 and the second time in program history.

Valparaiso, which captured five league wins in the same season for the first time since 1961 and the third time ever, finished the season with wins in four of its last five games including a victory over rival Butler for the Hoosier Helmet trophy.

Offensively, Valparaiso scored 330 points and racked up 4,400 yards, both the second most in program history.  

All four awards and the STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year will be celebrated at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation, scheduled for Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas, on the eve of the national championship game.

The voting panel consists of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries. Voting is based on the regular season.