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Delaware’s K.C. Keeler Named 2010 Liberty Mutual FCS Coach of the Year

Jan 10, 2011, 8:43 PM EDT

After a season marked by the success of the Blue Hens on the field, achievements by his student-athletes in the classroom, and tireless dedication to his communities and charities, University of Delaware head football coach K.C. Keeler today received the ultimate reward for his inspirational efforts both on and off the field.

Liberty Mutual Insurance, in partnership with the College Football Hall of Fame, announced Keeler as its 2010 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award winner for the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award is the leading college football honor recognizing coaches for their sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence, on and off field.

Keeler rose above a group of five FCS coach finalists through fan votes cast December 13-28 at www.CoachoftheYear.com and ballots from elite selection committees of national media and College Football Hall of Fame players and coaches. Fans votes contributed 20 percent to each coach’s final score, and the media and College Football Hall of Fame accounted for 25 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

“I’m deeply grateful and honored to be selected as the 2010 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year for the Football Championship Subdivision,” said Keeler, whose team fell to Eastern Washington 20-19 in the NCAA Division I Championship Game Friday night in Frisco, Tex. “This is such a special honor because it recognizes not only the success that we have had on the playing field, but the time and effort that our student-athletes and staff put in throughout the year in our community and beyond. Giving back and helping those less fortunate is so important and I’m glad that Liberty Mutual has shown its support to those who make a difference in their communities. This has been a special season for our football program at the University of Delaware for many reasons and this award just adds to it. I’m proud to accept this prestigious award on behalf of the University, our athletics program, our outstanding coaching staff, our team, and our community. It’s exciting to be able to help out financially local organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs, Autism Delaware, and duPont Children’s Hospital. I know this means a lot to them as well.”

The other 2010 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year winners include Gene Chizik (Auburn University) for FBS; Bob Nielson (Minnesota Duluth) in NCAA Division II; and Glenn Caruso (St. Thomas, Minn.) for NCAA Division III.

“Coach Keeler embodies the spirit of the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award through his dedication to his students, team and community, and fans should be proud of the significant impact they made through their votes and support for their teams, alma maters and coaches,” said Greg Gordon, Liberty Mutual senior vice president, Consumer Marketing.

“As a company that values ‘doing the right thing’ as its core responsibility, we introduced the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award in 2006 to celebrate responsibility in coaching because we believe it is one of the clearest examples of a positive influence one can have on young people, their families and their communities. Liberty Mutual is delighted to celebrate K.C. Keeler with our award.”

Keeler this season led his alma mater Delaware Blue Hens to the FCS national title game for the third time in 2010. Led by an FCS-leading defense (12.1 points allowed per game) and tremendous on-field discipline (total team penalties that were 23 percent fewer than the Colonial Athletic Association conference average), Keeler’s Blue Hens posted a 12-3 record giving him 74 victories in nine seasons in Newark, including one national title, ranking him third in all-time coaching wins at Delaware behind his own college coach, Tubby Raymond, for whom he played as a linebacker from 1978-1980 and won an NCAA Division II title in 1979.

Keeler’s Blue Hens excel in the classroom as well. Three student-athletes – quarterback Pat Devlin, wide receiver Mark Mackey and tight end Zack Reed – were named to the 2010 ESPN/CoSIDA district all-academic team; and 12 Blue Hens achieved Colonial Athletic Association all-conference academic honors in 2009. The 2010 team has not yet been announced.

Off the field, Keeler and his team are renowned leaders in the Newark area and throughout the state. His seemingly endless list of philanthropic activities include co-chairing with his wife, Janice, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware’s 2006 One Campaign; acting as an AFCA ambassador to the Jason Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to youth suicide prevention; supporting Autism Delaware, and leading statewide support of the National Marrow Donor program, doubling Delaware participants in 2010.

Keeler, his staff, and the Blue Hen players regularly volunteer at local food banks and Special Olympics events, participate in the Turkey Roundup, which collects and delivers holiday turkeys for needy families, and twice a season visit patients at the A.I. duPont Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, Del.

Keeler will be honored in the permanent Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year display at the College Football Hall of Fame. In addition, Liberty Mutual will make a $50,000 charitable donation on his behalf, which Keeler has designated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware, Autism Delaware and the duPont Children’s Hospital. George Krupanski, President & CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware, was present to help accept the award.

A $20,000 scholarship award also will be presented in his name to the University of Delaware Alumni Association. UD Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Lauren Simione also attended the ceremony to help accept the award.

With this year’s award, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year winners have now donated more than $1.2 million since the award’s inception in 2006.

“Today we celebrate Coach Keeler for the latest honor he has brought to our school, our fans and our community,” said University of Delaware Director of Athletics and Recreation Services Bernard Muir. “Being named the 2010 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award winner is a testament to his significant impact and positive influence on our students and our community.”

About Liberty Mutual Group
“Helping people live safer, more secure lives” since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group (Libertymutualgroup.com) is a diversified global insurer and fifth-largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2009 direct written premium. Liberty Mutual Group ranks 71st on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. corporations, based on 2009 revenue. The company has over 45,000 employees located in more than 900 offices throughout the world.  The eighth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual (libertymutual.com) sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance. The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering car and home insurance to employees and members of more than 12,000 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups.

About the National Football Foundation & the College Football Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, the NFF Gridiron Clubs of New York City, Dallas, and Los Angeles, and annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl, the Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings.