Paul Rhoads has been runner-up for Big 12 Coach-of-the-Year in each of his two seasons on the Iowa State sidelines. He lost out to Texas’ Mack Brown (whose teams played in the BCS title game) in 2009 and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy this fall.Rhoads hasn’t won a COY honor yet, but it’s a good wager that he’ll be on the receiving end one day soon. Here are this year’s honorees. Each has an interesting story. Nevada’s Chris Ault (WAC) – the creator of the "Pistol" offense, Ault is in his third tenure as Wolf Pack head coach.
Auburn’s Gene Chizik (SEC) – The former ISU coach parlayed the nation’s best player (Cam Newton) into a national championship.Florida International’s Mario Cristobal – The first Cuban-American college head coach led FIU to its first-ever winning season. Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio (Big Ten) – Dantonio missed two games after suffering a heart attack in week three but still won the honor. Maryland’s Ralph Friedgen (ACC) – Friedgen was fired after his Terrapins registered a 9-4 mark, including a Military Bowl victory. Miami’s Michael Haywood (MAC) – Haywood jumped for Pitt at his first opportunity and, subsequently, was fired after being arrested for domestic battery. San Diego State’s Brady Hoke (Mountain West) – Hoke quickly turned around the Aztecs after doing the same at Ball State. He took the Michigan job this week. Oregon’s Chip Kelly (Pac-10) – Kelly is the lone coach among these honorees, who was promoted from within. Central Florida’s George O’Leary (Conference USA) – the former Notre Dame coach (for several days) has recovered nicely from his resume blunder in 2001 Louisville’s Charlie Strong & UCONN’s Randy Edsall (Big East) – Strong is the only coach to win this honor in his first season on the job and Edsall has already bolted the Huskies’ program to replace Friedgen at Maryland. Rhoads’ success has certainly mirrored the accomplishment of some of these men. His day will come soon.
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