Football | Mon, Dec. 27, 2021
WACO, Tex. – On December 6, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) announced the Regional Coach of the Year honorees for each of the association’s five divisions: Football Championship Series, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, and NAIA winners. For Southwestern College, Brad Griffin earned his first ever AFCA Regional Coach of the Year award in his 7th season at the helm of the Builders.
The winners are selected by Active members of the Association who vote for coaches in their respective regions and divisions, and will be honored on Monday, January 10, during the 2022 AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas. The AFCA will also announce the 2021 National Coaches of the Year winners in FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA on January 10. The Regional winners in each division are finalists for National Coach of the Year.
This year, Griffin led his team to a final win-loss record of 9-2, while picking up a share of the KCAC title along the way. The team reached the NAIA Championship Series for the first time since 1999, but suffered a close loss in the first round against Marian University, 21-17.
Below are the winners for each of the five regions in the NAIA.
Region 1: *Chris Oliver, Lindsey Wilson College
Region 2: *Joshua Schumacher, Concordia University (Mich.)
Region 3: Brad Griffin, Southwestern College (Kan.)
Region 4: *Steve Ryan, Morningside University
Region 5: Joe Prud’homme, Texas Wesleyan University
*-2021 Spring winner
Award History: The AFCA began recognizing district coaches of the year following the 1960 season. The awards were established the same year Eastman Kodak agreed to sponsor the AFCA Coach of the Year award. Prior to 1960, the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain had sponsored the program, which recognized one national Coach of the Year.
The AFCA first recognized eight district winners in each of two divisions: university and college. In 1972, a ninth district was added in each division. In 1983, the award was changed to recognize regional winners instead of district winners. The number of divisions was also increased from two to four and five regional winners were selected in each division. This resulted in a more equitable selection process and better represented the make-up of the membership. At the same time, the new system increased the number of honorees from 18 to 20. In 2006, the AFCA Division II Award was split into separate Division II and NAIA divisions, giving us the 25 winners the association now recognizes.