UPDATE: Voting ends tonight, so make sure to get your vote in now!
Coaches across the country have spent the entire college football season preparing themselves and readying their teams to take the field each game day. However, for five Division II coaches, their guidance and leadership extends well beyond the playing field, leaving lasting impressions on the players they mentor and the communities they reach.
Liberty Mutual Insurance announced Tuesday afternoon that Midwestern State coach Bill Maskill is one of five NCAA Division II finalists for the 2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, the leading college football-coaching honor that celebrates coaches for their sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence, and for giving back to their teams, schools and communities, on and off field.
The five finalists were determined as a result of online fan voting at CoachoftheYear.com and through an objective scoring model endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame. Each coach was among the top 15 in fan votes in Division II to qualify for the model, which considers, among other criteria: wins, team penalties, on-field sportsmanship, academic achievement by the student-athletes, and commitment to charitable endeavors. Voting continues through December 22 at CoachoftheYear.com to help determine the 2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year winners.
"College football fans clearly recognize Coach Maskill as one of the game's true leaders, and we agree he is an excellent finalist for the 2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award," said Greg Gordon, Liberty Mutual senior vice president, Consumer Marketing. "Each year, we ask fans to vote for the coaches who best exemplify the award's characteristics – sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence, on and off the field. Bill Maskill does just that, through his success on game days, as well as providing leadership to his student-athletes and commitment to the greater Midwestern State community."
Joining Coach Maskill among the five Division II finalists for the 2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award are, in alphabetical order: Tim Beck, Pittsburg State University (Kan.); Peter Rossomando, University of New Haven (Conn.); Scott Underwood, St. Cloud State University (Minn.); and John Wristen, Colorado State University-Pueblo.
"In a time where many people measure success only by wins and losses, we are thrilled to have our own coach Maskill named as a 2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year finalist," MSU Athletic Director Charlie Carr said. "Coach Maskill does just as much for his student-athletes and community off the field, as he does on the field, which gives Midwestern State fans and alumni something to be proud of. Now our fans just have to keep voting for coach Maskill to bring home the trophy, and to support his charities and our school."
Fans can visit CoachoftheYear.com between December 6 and December 22 to vote daily among the finalists in each division. Selection committees of more than 50 College Football Hall of Fame players and coaches – including Archie Manning, Lou Holtz, Vince Dooley, Ronnie Lott, Archie Griffin – and the national college football media, such as Kirk Herbstreit, Stewart Mandel and Tim Brando, will also cast votes for the winners to ensure coaches are evaluated fairly and measured against the specific values of responsibility and integrity. Winners are ultimately determined using the following voting weight: fans, 20 percent; College Football Hall of Fame, 55 percent; and college football media, 25 percent.
Liberty Mutual will announce the four winners the morning of the BCS Championship game, January 9, 2012, in New Orleans. If Bill Maskill is named 2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year for Division II, he will receive $50,000 to donate to the charities of his choice and a $20,000 grant to his school's alumni association. Since 2006, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award has celebrated the work of 17 winning coaches by donating more than $1.2 million to over 80 charities and college alumni scholarship funds across the country. Former Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Division II winners include: Bob Nielson, University of Minnesota-Duluth (2010); Mel Tjeerdsma, Northwest Missouri State (2009); Chuck Broyles, Pittsburg State University (2008); and Bill O'Boyle, Chadron State College (2007).
Midwestern State fans also can join the conversation on Facebook by visiting Facebook.com/LMCoachofYear or on Twitter, @LMCoachofYear.