The Football Writer’s Association of America honored TCU head coach Gary Patterson as a finalist for the 2003 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.
The FWAA hosted its annual banquet Thursday in Scottsdale, Ariz., to honor the season’s three finalists, which included Patterson, Navy head coach Paul Johnson and LSU head coach Nick Saban, who won the award for leading the Tigers to the BCS championship.
Since its inception in 1957, the award has been presented annually to the nation’s top head coach. It is given out in honor of Eddie Robinson of Grambling State, the winningest Division 1-A coach in college football history.
This year, all three coaches were first-time finalists.
Steve Richardson, executive director of the FWAA, said coaches from each conference were reviewed based on their season. He said the committee, consisting of over 800 members, then made nominations and voted to determine the three finalists and the eventual winner.
Richardson said Patterson was more than worthy of the recognition.
“Patterson fits into the category because he had a solid season,” he said. “He only lost one game before the bowls.”
Steve Fink, director of athletic media relations at TCU, agreed that the FWAA chose Patterson as a finalist because of TCU’s impressive record.
However, Richardson said because LSU was part of a bigger conference, the Southeastern Conference, they had better televised games and higher ratings among all the polls, resulting in the voters favoring Saban for the award.
Either way, Fink said Saban was deserving of the award.
“LSU won a national championship,” he said.
Fink said Patterson’s nomination for the award proves just how important he has been to the football program.
“It gives recognition of what he’s done, and what this program has accomplished,” Fink said.
Even though Patterson gained another credit to his resume, he has managed to remain humble, by saying that the real winner of his recognition is the TCU football program.
“It helps recruiting, nothing else,” Patterson said.