CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., -- Prairie View A&M coach Henry Frazier III was named the 23rd winner of the Eddie Robinson Award Thursday night at The Sports Network's Football Championship Subdivision Awards Banquet, held at the Chattanooga Convention Center on the eve of the NCAA Division I Football Championship title game.
Frazier is the first coach of a Southwestern Athletic Conference team, or a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) to win the Robinson Award, which is presented annually to the top coach in FCS. Robinson, the legendary Grambling State coach, spent much of his career in the SWAC.
"It is a humbling honor," said Frazier. "It's a great honor to be considered the top coach in your conference and it's an even greater honor to be considered the top coach in the country."
Taking over a program best known for losing an NCAA-record 80 consecutive games from 1989-98, Frazier led the Panthers to a perfect 7-0 conference mark, the SWAC West Division title and their first-ever berth in the SWAC championship game since the title contest was introduced in 1999.
Frazier is 36-27 at Prairie View and has gone 25-5 in the past three years. Prairie View completed its season with a thrilling, 30-24 SWAC title game victory over Alabama A&M. The Panthers hadn't won a SWAC championship since 1964, and 2009 marked the team's second consecutive 9-1 season.
"When we took over at Prairie View, if there were 119 teams, we were the 119(th) team in the country," Frazier said.
In 2008, Prairie View also beat both Grambling and Southern in the same year for the first time in 35 seasons, and posted its first nine-win campaign since 1953, a feat they duplicated this season.
The 2009 season marks the first time the Panthers have had three consecutive winning years since legendary PVAM coach W.J. Nicks ran off nine straight such seasons from 1957-65.
Frazier also coached the Panthers to the No. 18 spot in the final regular season Sports Network poll, the highest ranking Prairie View has ever held. PVAM was ranked 25th last season, the first time the Panthers had ever made a poll appearance.
In the second-closest balloting in Robinson Award history, Frazier received 24 first-place votes out of the 125 ballots cast by a panel of sports information directors and select media who regularly cover FCS. He picked up 237 points to edge J.C. Harper of Stephen F. Austin by two points. (Full voting information is available at sportsnetwork.com)
Jerry Moore of Appalachian State won by one point over Craig Bohl of North Dakota State in 2006.
The Sports Network established the Eddie Robinson Award in 1987. Past recipients of this prestigious honor include current FCS coaches, two-time winner Mickey Matthews of James Madison, Northern Iowa skipper Mark Farley, New Hampshire's Sean McDonnell, Villanova's Andy Talley, Mike Ayers of Wofford and Elon's Pete Lembo, when he won the coveted award with Lehigh.
SOURCE The Sports Network