Head Coach earns national recognition

Nathan McGann

Villanova’s impressive run to the quarterfinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs has not gone without national recognition. Head Coach Andy Talley has been named American Football Coaches Association 2008 Region I Coach of the Year by active members of the association.

Every year, the AFCA recognizes five coaches from each of the five divisions, including the FBS, FCS, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA.

This marks the fourth time Talley has earned Coach of the Year honors after winning the award in 1982 while at St. Lawrence University and in 1991 and 1997 with Villanova.

Talley earned this recognition after leading a young Villanova squad to an impressive 10-3 record overall and a 7-1 record in the difficult CAA.

The Wildcats shot up the rankings throughout the regular season, finishing sixth in the nation and garnering a postseason at-large bid for the first time since 2002. It was Talley’s fourth 10-win season and seventh playoff appearance during his tenure at Villanova. The Wildcats were one of four teams from the Colonial Athletic Association to make it into the postseason.

Villanova had a daunting schedule, having to open the season against FBS opponent West Virginia and playing the top-ranked FCS team on three occasions. While the Wildcats lost to West Virginia, they defeated then-No. 1 Richmond at home and nearly secured a victory against top-ranked James Madison during the regular season. However, the Dukes harnessed the magic of Doug Flutie and won the game on a Hail Mary pass with no time remaining on the clock.

James Madison continued to play the thorn in Villanova’s side, winning the playoff rematch 31-27. While they did not need a miracle to seal this victory, the Dukes took the lead with little over a minute remaining and, after a Chris Whitney interception, ended the Wildcats’ season.

In his 29 years of coaching, Talley has an overall record of 193-119-2 and a 165-101-1 record during his 24 years at Villanova. With a victory on the road against the University of New Hampshire, Talley became the winningest coach in CAA history. He currently has 100 conference wins.

The other FCS coaches who won Coach of the Year in their regions are Appalachian State’s Jerry Moore, Prairie View A&M’s Henry Frazier, Southern Illinois’ Dale Lennon and Central Arkansas’ Clint Conque.