EIU Coach Dino Babers Named AFC Region 3 Coach Of Year


Published on December 12 2013 6:32 am
Last Updated on December 12 2013 6:37 am
Written by Millie Lange

WACO, TEX. — Eastern Illinois head coach Dino Babers was named the American Football Coaches Association’s 2013 Region 3 Coach of the Year for the second straight year as announced by the AFCA Tuesday.  Babers will lead the Panthers into the FCS Playoff Quarterfinals this Friday night against Towson.

Babers in his second season with the Panther led EIU to a No. 2 national ranking as the program posted an 11-1 regular season mark.  The 11 regular season wins were the most in school history as EIU was 8-0 in the OVC.  The Panthers went 5-0 at home for the second straight season.

Babers team earned the No. 2 seed in the FCS playoffs and won the program’s first post-season game since the 1989 season with a 51-10 win over Tennessee State on Saturday.  EIU now faces No. 7 seed Towson in the quarterfinal round with the game to be televised on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. on Friday.

In addition to AFCA Region 3 Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2013, Babers has been the Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year in both seasons guiding a 2-9 Panthers team in 2011 to 7-5 last season (OVC Champs & FCS Playoffs) and 12-1 this season (OVC Champs & FCS Playoffs).  He was third in voting for the 2012 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award and is once again a finalist for the award presented by The Sports Network this season.

The other AFCA FCS Regional Coach of the Year winners included: Region 1 – Joe Moorhead (Fordham) and Jack Cosgrove (Maine); Region 2 – Jamey Chadwell (Charleston Southern); Region 3 – Dino Babers (Eastern Illinois); Region 4 – Craig Bohl (North Dakota State); and Region 5 – Ron Roberts (Southeastern Louisiana).

The AFCA recognizes five regional Coach of the Year winners in each of the Association’s five divisions: Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and NAIA. The winners are selected by Active members of the Association who vote for coaches in their respective regions and divisions.

The 2013 Regional Coach of the Year winners will be recognized at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner at the 2014 AFCA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. The dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, January 14.

Garoppolo, Lora Named First Team All-Americans

Eastern Illinois seniors Jimmy Garoppolo and Erik Lora were both named first team All-Americans as selected by College Sports Madness.

EIU, seeded No. 2 in the FCS playoffs, will host No. 7 seed Towson this Friday in the quarterfinal round.  The game will be televised on ESPN2 with a 7 p.m. kickoff. Tickets for the game are on sale by calling 217-581-2106 or online at www.eiupanthertickets.com

Garoppolo was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year after leading the nation in passing yards and touchdown passes this season. Entering the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs, Garoppolo is third all-time on the FCS single season list with 4,729 yards and 51 touchdowns.  Garoppolo leads all Division I quarterbacks at both the FCS and FBS levels in those categories. This season he has set the OVC and EIU single season and career records for every passing category and currently ranks seventh all-time in FCS history in passing yards and touchdown passes. Garoppolo is one of three players that have been invited to Philadelphia for the 2013 Walter Payton Award.  Garoppolo placed 10th in the 2012 Walter Payton Award voting.

Lora was a first team All-OVC selection this season after winning OVC Player of the Year honors last season.  Lora once again posted a 100-plus catch season after setting the FCS single season record with 136 catches last year. This year Lora has 105 catches for 1,415 yards and 18 touchdown passes.  He ranks third in the FCS in receptions and receiving yards while ranking second nationally in touchdown catches. Lora is currently third all-time in FCS history in pass receptions with 314 catches. His 18 touchdowns this season set both an EIU and OVC single season record while his 34 career touchdown receptions are first all-time in FCS history. Lora finished seventh in this year’s Walter Payton Award voting after placing fourth last season.

2013 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year Winners

Football Bowl Subdivision

Region 1: Jimbo Fisher, Florida State University

Region 2: Gary Pinkel, University of Missouri

Region 3: Jerry Kill, University of Minnesota

Region 4: Art Briles, Baylor University

Region 5: David Shaw, Stanford University

Football Championship Subdivision

Region 1: Joe Moorhead, Fordham University &

Jack Cosgrove, University of Maine (tie)

Region 2: Jamey Chadwell, Charleston Southern University

Region 3: Dino Babers, Eastern Illinois University*

Region 4: Craig Bohl, North Dakota State University

Region 5: Ron Roberts, Southeastern Louisiana University

Division II

Region 1: George Mihalik, Slippery Rock University

Region 2: Scott Maxfield, Henderson State University

Region 3: Bill Conley, Ohio Dominican University

Region 4: Josh Lynn, Eastern New Mexico University

Region 5: Aaron Keen, Minnesota State University-Mankato*

Division III

Region 1: Mike Welch, Ithaca College

Region 2: Jim Monos, Lebanon Valley College

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

Region 4: Tom Arth, John Carroll University

Region 5: Steve Johnson, Bethel (Minn.) University


Region 1: Chris Oliver, Lindsey Wilson College

Region 2: Mike Woodley, Grand View University

Region 3: Larry Wilcox, Benedictine (Kan.) College

Region 4: Ross Cimpl, Dakota Wesleyan University

Region 5: Mike Van Diest, Carroll (Mont.) College

*-2012 winner