Less than a week removed from winning the Mid-American Conference title, the accolades continue to pour in for the Miami RedHawks, as head coach Chuck Martin was named one of 12 finalists for the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year award on Tuesday morning.
Martin led a campaign for the history books in 2023, with his RedHawks finishing the year at 11-2 (8-1 MAC) and winning the conference title in an upset over the Toledo Rockets, who were ranked #23 in the Associated Press Poll.
After suffering their first loss of the season against Miami [FL] to start the season, the RedHawks went on a tear, reeling off six straight wins before a heart-breaking loss to Toledo, which saw their starting quarterback Brett Gabbert go down with a season-ending lower leg injury.
That was no problem for the RedHawks, who won four-straight games after that to clinch the MAC East division and take on the Rockets in a rematch in Detroit, where they lifted the trophy after a convincing 23-14 victory to exact revenge at the most vital moment.
Under Martin’s leadership, Miami had a stellar defensive effort, finishing the 2023 season as the NCAA’s seventh-best scoring defense (16.8 points per game.) The RedHawks held conference opponents to just 86 total points on offense, their best mark since 2000, with nine total offensive touchdowns in eight conference contests. The RedHawks were also elite on special teams, with the NCAA’s best net average on punts (44.1 yards per boot), a Top 15 punt return average (12.5 yards per return on average) and went an impressive 26-of-27 on field goal attempts. earning placekicker Graham Nicholson (26-of-27) a nomination as a Lou Groza Award finalist.
The Coach of the Year Award, voted on by the Football Writers Association of America, is named for former Grambling State head coach Eddie Robinson, who finished his career with the Tigers as one of the winningest head coaches in college football history regardless of level. Robinson was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame immediately after his retirement in 1997.
Martin joins David Braun (Northwestern), Jamey Chadwell (Liberty), Kalen DeBoer (Washington), Eliah Drinkwtiz (Missouri), Jedd Fisch (Arizona), Rhett Lashlee (SMU), Mike Norvell (Florida State), Barry Odom (UNLV), Nick Saban (Alabama), Steve Sarkisian (Texas) and Jon Sumrall (Troy) as finalists for the honor.
TCU head coach Sonny Dykes was the award winner in 2022 after leading the Horned Frogs to the College Football Playoff Championship.
The 2023 recipient of the Coach of the Year Award will be announced on Dec. 20, with the official presentation set for Sat., Jan. 6, 2024, in Houston, Texas.