EIU's Babers Named Region 3 Coach of Year

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Published on December 3 2012 7:46 pm
Last Updated on December 3 2012 7:46 pm
Written by Millie Lange

WACO, Texas – Eastern Illinois head football coach Dino Babers has been named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Region 3 Coach of the Year as the national organization released its divisional winners on Monday.  The AFCA Region Coach of the Year winners will be honored at the AFCA Convention in January.

Babers led the Panthers to the FCS Playoffs posting a 7-5 record in his first season as the head coach.  Hired in December of 2011, Babers inherited a team that had posted back-to-back 2-9 seasons including a last place finish in the OVC in 2011.  In 2012 Babers led EIU to the OVC Championship with a 6-1 record as he was named the OVC Coach of the Year.  He became just the fourth coach in OVC history to take a team to the league championship in his first season as a collegiate head coach.  Babers helped EIU become just the fourth program in OVC history to finish last one season and win the championship in the next.

The Panthers ended the regular season ranked No. 25 in the Sports Network FCS poll making their 14th FCS playoff appearance.  The 2012 team featured two players that finished in the top ten in the balloting for the Walter Payton Award.  Junior wide receiver Erik Lora placed fourth in balloting while junior quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was 10th.  Babers is currently a finalist for the Eddie Robinson FCS Coach of the Year Award presented by the Sports Network.

2012 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year Winners

Football Bowl Subdivision

Region 1: Charlie Strong, University of Louisville

Region 2: Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M University*

Region 3: Brian Kelly, University of Notre Dame

Region 4: Bill Snyder, Kansas State University

Region 5: Mike Riley, Oregon State University

Football Championship Subdivision

Region 1: Sean McDonnell, University of New Hampshire

Region 2: Brian Jenkins, Bethune-Cookman University &

Chuck Priore, Stony Brook University (tie)

Region 3: Dino Babers, Eastern Illinois University

Region 4: Trent Miles, Indiana State University

Region 5: Rob Ash, Montana State University &

Willie Fritz, Sam Houston State University* (tie)

Division II

Region 1: Mark Maciejewski, Shippensburg University

Region 2: Connell Maynor, Winston-Salem State University

Region 3: Lee Owens, Ashland University

Region 4: Don Carthel, West Texas A&M University

Region 5: Aaron Keen, Minnesota State University-Mankato

Division III

Region 1: Mike Cragg, Hobart College

Region 2: Tom Watts, Ohio Wesleyan University

Region 3: Pete Fredenburg, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

Region 4: Larry Kehres, University of Mount Union*

Region 5: Patrick Cerroni, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

NAIA

Region 1: Bill Cronin, Georgetown College (Ky.)*

Region 2: Ted Karras, Jr., Marian University*

Region 3: Paul Troth, Missouri Valley College

Region 4: Steve Ryan, Morningside College*

Region 5: Chuck Morrell, Montana Tech