PHILADELPHIA-- UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson was one of 20 finalists for the Eddie Robinson FCS Coach of the Year Award presented by the Sports Network. He finished 17th in the balloting. Simpson, who guided the Skyhawks to an 8-3 overall record, received one first-place vote, two third-place votes, two fourth-place votes and eight fifth-place votes to finish with 23 points.
The Skyhawks 8-3 overall record is tied for the best winning percentage (.727) in the OVC. That mark also ranks as the second-highest winning percentage in UT Martin program history, behind only the 2006 OVC championship team which went 9-3.
In conference play, UT Martin tied a program record with six OVC victories against only two losses. The Skyhawks racked up 39.9 points per game against league opposition and defeated OVC regular season champion Eastern Illinois by a 51-37 margin on Oct. 6 – the Panthers’ only conference loss of the season.
First-year Eastern Illinois head football coach Dino Babers was third in voting for the award. The winner, Craig Bohl of North Dakota State, was announced at the FCS Awards Banquet on Monday evening.
Out of 145 total ballots cast, Babers received 14 first-place votes, 21 second-place votes, 14 third-place votes, 13 fourth-place votes and seven fifth place votes to tally 229 points. It is the highest finish for an OVC coach since Southeast Missouri's Tony Samuel won the award in 2010. Samuel and former Murray State head coach Houston Nutt (1995) are the only OVC coaches to win the award.
Babers was the Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year in his inaugural season as the Panthers head coach leading EIU to a 7-5 overall record and OVC regular season championship. EIU advanced to its 14th FCS playoff appearance losing in the opening round to South Dakota State.
Under Babers high powered offensive attack the Panthers ranked among the nation's top ten programs in scoring offense, passing offense and total offense in 2012. EIU featured two players who were finalists for the Walter Payton Award as junior wide receiver Erik Lora was fourth in final voting and junior quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was 10th.