The Coach of the Year award in college football is often the most overlooked. Remember, this is college football and it is about the student-athletes, right? Not in the eyes of everyone that counts.
College football should be about the young men, but they most definitely would not be able to accomplish their goals without proper guidance and leadership along the way. The head football coach at a major university is asked to wear many hats. Aside from the day-to-day responsibilities of a coach and a representative of the university, a coach is asked to be a leader of men.
Discipline, compassion, creativity and character are some of the characteristics that a head coach needs to possess, and oh, it sure would be nice if he could win a few games while he is at it, or his tenure at any given program will be at risk.
Only one program in the Big Ten has yet to have a head coach receive the Head Coach of the Year honors, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Cornhuskers have two iconic coaches in their history in Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne, and many programs would love to have had one coach who accomplished as much as either of these individuals have.
Yet, Bo Pelini has been the only head coach at Nebraska since they entered the Big Ten, and the Huskers trophy case still longs for a Coach of the Year award and a Big Ten championship trophy.
Pelini was never in the discussion for coach of the year in 2013, but there were some very deserving men looking to follow last season’s winner Bill O’Brien. Of all the deserving candidates the winner this season was Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio.
Dantonio lead his Spartans to the Big Ten championship game this season through some adversity. The adversity was once again a lack of production on offense. The Spartans had to find a capable quarterback this season and fill the large hole left by LeVeon Bell, their departed running back from last season. Connor Cook settled in at quarterback eventually and running back Chris Langford came on strong towards the season’s end.
Undoubtedly, Dantonio won the award because of another superb defensive season by his squad.
Other coaches who were very deserving this season were Ohio State‘s Urban Meyer and Minnesota‘s Jerry Kill. Meyer led his squad to a second consecutive undefeated season this year. Kill battled epilepsy this season, but was inspirational leader for his players and assistants. An award to Kill would have been very well earned and shared amongst his staff.