Beginning today, the Case Western Reserve University community has an opportunity to help Greg Debeljak get recognized on a national level for his coaching abilities.
For the third consecutive year, Debeljak, head football coach, has been named one of five finalists (NCAA Division III) for the Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year (COY) award. He is the only three-time finalist at the Division III level.
Campus community members can each vote once daily between Dec. 15-29 for the Coach of the Year honor. In addition to the votes, members of the College Football Hall of Fame and national media ensure all candidates are evaluated fairly. Votes will be tallied Dec. 30-Jan. 5, and the winners in Division I, II and III will be announced Jan. 6 at a media luncheon in Newport Beach, Calif.
The criteria for the honor includes coaching excellence, sportsmanship and integrity, academic excellence and community commitment. The Liberty Mutual COY award is more than just a trophy. The recognition also provides the winning coaches with $50,000 to donate to the charity or charities of his choice, as well as a $20,000 grant to donate to his school's alumni association. Learn more about the award.
"Coach Debs has the right mentality to win at this level, especially at a university like Case," said 2008 AFCA All-American defensive back and team captain Bobby Bott. "He understands that a balance between football and academics is needed. He and his staff have changed the culture here and set the bar high for Spartan football."
In addition to voting, fans can add a personal message explaining why Debeljak should receive the recognition. Fans also can update their Facebook status to show that they voted for the day.
Under Debeljak's guidance, the Spartans have won 31 straight regular season games dating back to November of 2006. Case Western Reserve has also made three consecutive trips to the NCAA postseason and won three straight University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships.
"Like any other (award I have received) it's a team award," Debeljak explained. "I am so proud of what we have been able to accomplish and it's because of our players and especially our coaches. We work hard to recruit the type of student-athletes that enable teams to do what we have done over the last three years."
Debeljak became the winningest (44-20) coach in the school's modern era this season. He has won more games over the last six seasons than the program did in the previous 12. He and his assistants have been named the UAA Coaching Staff of the year three times running and four times (2004) overall. Watch a video interview done with Coach Debeljak after he became the school's modern era leader in wins.
This season, Debeljak guided the Spartans to their third perfect regular season (10-0), which earned them their highest national ranking in school history. The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) ranked Case Western Reserve No. 7 in November.
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