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Delaware’s Keeler Earns AFCA FCS National Coach of the Year Honor

Jan 12, 2011, 11:17 AM EDT

Another day, another major coaching award for University of Delaware football head coach K.C. Keeler.

Delaware’s K.C. Keeler (credit: Mark Campbell)

For the second straight day Tuesday, Keeler was honored for his leadership in guiding Delaware to one of its finest seasons in school history as he was selected as the 2010 American Football Coaches Association FCS National Coach of the Year. The award, which is selected from a vote of college head coaches, was presented at the annual AFCA Convention Awards Dinner in Dallas. The awards have been presented annually since 1935.

On Monday, Keeler received the Liberty Mutual FCS National Coach of the Year Award in Phoenix. The Liberty Mutual Award, which recognizes coaches for their sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence, on and off field, was selected by a committee of College Football Hall of Fame members, media members, and from an on-line fan vote.

Keeler earned the AFCA award for the first time in his career but became the second Blue Hen head coach to be honored, joining his college coach and Hall of Famer Tubby Raymond, who was recognized in both 1971 and 1972. Keeler’s honor also pushed CAA Football’s total to six AFCA Coaching honors, including each of the last three dating back to 2008.  Delaware is one of just six schools nationally that have won three AFCA Coach of the Year Awards, joining Appalachian State, Southern Cal, Furman, North Alabama, and Sioux Falls.

Keeler was one of five head coaches honored Tuesday, joining Oregon head coach, and former New Hampshire assistant coach, Chip Kelly (NCAA Division I FBS), Minnesota-Duluth’s Bob Nielson (NCAA II), Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Lance Leipold (NCAA III), and Carroll’s Mike Van Diest (NAIA).

Delaware enjoyed one of the finest seasons in its illustrious history in 2010 as Keeler led the Blue Hens to a 12-3 record, a share of the Colonial Athletic Association title, and a berth in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Game. Delaware stormed through the NCAA Tournament this fall, defeating Lehigh, New Hampshire, and Georgia Southern in order at home before falling to top-ranked Eastern Washington 20-19 in the title game Friday night in Frisco, Texas.

The Blue Hens, who posted a 6-5 record during the 2009 season, opened the 2010 campaign ranked No. 16 in The Sports Network poll and No. 19 in the FCS Coaches poll but quickly moved up, winning their first seven games of the season. Delaware was ranked No. 1 in the nation for two weeks (Nov. 8-15) in the Coaches Poll and No. 1 in the TSN rankings (Nov. 15) before taking a No. 5 ranking into the post-season. The Blue Hens were the No. 3 seed for the NCAA Tournament.

Keeler, now in his ninth season at the helm of the Blue Hens, was making his third appearance in the FCS championship game and his eighth championship game showing overall, which included five title game berths while head coach at NCAA Division III Rowan (N.J.) University. He led the Blue Hens to the NCAA national title in 2003, a runner-up finish to Appalachian State in 2007, and a trip to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2004.  Keeler’s teams have also won three conference titles, two Lambert Cup Trophies as the top team in the East, and two Eastern College Athletic Conference Team of the Year awards. His 10 total trips to the NCAA semifinals is second all-time among all NCAA head coaches.

He owns a nine-year record of 74-42 (.638) at Delaware and an 18-year overall mark of 162-63-1 (.719) and is also a three-time winner of the Maxwell Club Tri-State Coach of the Year Award.

Keeler guided a balanced Blue Hen attack in 2010 that featured 16 all-conference players and a group of four All-Americans in senior quarterback Pat Devlin, freshman running back Andrew Pierce, senior free safety Anthony Bratton, and senior cornerback Anthony Walters. Delaware led the nation in scoring defense all season, allowing just 11.5 points per game prior to the national championship game.

In addition to the four All-Americans, Devlin, senior wide receiver Mark Mackey, and senior tight end/deep snapper Zack Reed earned ESPN/College Sports Information Directors of America District 2 All-Academic honors, and senior defensive tackle Siddiq Haynes was named the national Team Captain for the Allstate AFCA Good Works team for outstanding community service.

Keeler wins AFCA honor: Delaware release
Keeler wins AFCA honor: CAASports.com release
Keeler among AFCA Coach of the Year honorees: AFCA release