NORMAN — Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley was named one of eight finalists Tuesday for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, the Football Writers Association of America announced.
Joining Riley as a finalist are UAB's Bill Clark, UCF's Scott Frost, Florida Atlantic's Lane Kiffin, Army's Jeff Monken, Georgia's Kirby Smart, Clemson's Dabo Swinney and Fresno State's Jeff Tedford.
In his first season as a head coach, Riley has guided Oklahoma to a 12-1 record, a Big 12 championship and a berth in the Rose Bowl against Georgia as the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff.
Riley became just the fifth coach in FBS history with no previous head-coaching experience at a four-year college to win at least 12 games in his debut season. He joined Chris Petersen (13-0 at Boise State in 2006), Tom Herman (13-1 at Houston in 2015), Larry Coker (12-0 at Miami [Fla.] in 2001) and Bret Bielema (12-1 at Wisconsin in 2006).
With Riley as offensive play-caller, Oklahoma leads the nation in a multitude of offensive categories this season, including total offense (583.3 yards per game), offensive touchdowns (75), pass completion percentage (71.8), pass efficiency rating (206.9), yards per play (8.4) and yards per pass attempt (12.0). Quarterback Baker Mayfield was also named one of three Heisman Trophy finalists Monday.
With Riley as offensive play-caller, OU leads the nation in total offense (583.3 yards per game), offensive touchdowns (75), pass completion percentage (71.8), pass efficiency rating (206.9), yards per play (8.4) and yards per pass attempt (12.0).
Additionally, Oklahoma ranks in the top four in the Big 12 in a bevy of defensive categories: third in passing defense (240.6 ypg) and fourth in first downs allowed (20.4 per game), total defense (384.8 ypg), scoring defense (25.0 ppg) and sacks (24).
A league-high 13 Sooners earned All-Big 12 recognition under Riley's tutelage, including Mayfield as Offensive Player of the Year, Offensive Lineman of the Year Orlando Brown, Co-Defensive Player of the Year Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Co-Defensive Freshman of the Year Kenneth Murray.
The finalists were placed on a ballot which is being sent to the entire FWAA membership Tuesday morning. Ballots will be accepted from the membership through 5 p.m. CT on Friday, Dec. 8. The winner will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 14.
The official presentation reception will be on Jan. 6, 2018, in Atlanta where the winning coach will be handed the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year bust during a reception in conjunction with the College Football Playoff National Championship.
The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season. The FWAA coaching award is named after the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.