Finalists for various awards continue to roll out with the 2013 regular season completed, with the Maxwell Football Club the latest to unveil its contender for a major non-playing honor.
Three finalists for the 2013 Maxwell Coach of the Year Award: Duke’s David Cutcliffe, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn and Missouri’s Gary Pinkel. Malzahn and Pinkel, of course, will square off in the SEC championship game Saturday, while Cutcliffe and his Blue Devils will face top-ranked Florida State in the ACC title game the same day.
Malzahn is in his first year as the Tigers’ head coach and is largely responsible for one of the most stunning turnarounds in FBS history. Last season, AU was 3-9 overall and winless in SEC play; in 2013, Malzahn has led the Tigers to a one-loss season that has them playing for a conference championship and a potential spot in the BCS title game.
Entering 2013, many observers viewed Pinkel as a coach on the hot seat coming off a five-win 2012 season that included a 2-6 record in the Tigers’ first year in the SEC. Instead, Mizzou won its first outright division title since 2008 and could claim its first outright conference championship since 1960.
And then there’s Cutcliffe. All the sixth-year coach did was set a school record for wins in a season with 10 and guide the Blue Devils to their first-ever Coastal division title. Duke will play in a bowl game in back-to-back seasons for the first time in the program’s 92-year history. In the six years with Cutcliffe on the sidelines, the Blue Devils have won 31 games; in the 15 seasons prior to Cutcliffe’s arrival and dating back to 1993, Duke won a combined 33 games. Eight of those wins came in 1994.