Courtesy Bethel SID
WACO, Texas — Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Northwestern’s (Iowa) Matt McCarty highlight today’s announcement of the American Football Coaches Association’s 2022 Regional Coach of the Year winners for FBS, FCS, Division II, Division III, and NAIA. These winners will be honored on Monday, January 9, during the 2023 AFCA Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Bethel University Coach Michael Jasper was named NAIA Region 1 Coach of the Year. Jasper, in his fourth year at Bethel guided the Wildcats to a record 11-0 undefeated regular season and a No. 4 national ranking. Jasper is 26-15 in his four years at Bethel.
Coach Jasper commented on the honor. “It is an honor to be recognized alongside such amazing coaches. I share this accolade with my amazing staff that truly deserves a great deal of credit for our success. I can’t make this vision go without them. I also share it with some outstanding student athletes who lay it all on the line every day for me and my staff.”
Bethel Director of Athletics Brad Chappell said, “I am pleased to hear about Coach Jasper’s recognition from the AFCA as Coach of the Year. People around the country are beginning to figure out what we have known for quite some time - Mike Jasper is an excellent football coach. It has been fun and rewarding for me to see Mike’s evolution as a coach. He just keeps getting better. This most recent honor is another feather in his cap of what I predict will be many. Congratulations Coach!!”
The AFCA recognizes five regional Coach of the Year winners in each of the Association’s five divisions: Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III, and NAIA. The winners are selected by Active members of the Association who vote for coaches in their respective regions and divisions.
Harbaugh earned his second AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honor by guiding Michigan to a 13-0 record, the Big Ten Conference title, and the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff where they will face No. 3 TCU in the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl. In his eight seasons at Michigan, Harbaugh has a record of 74-24 and two Big Ten titles. His overall record in 15 years as a collegiate head coach at San Diego, Stanford and Michigan is 132-51 with nine bowl appearances.
McCarty also earned his second AFCA Regional honor by leading Northwestern (Iowa) to a 12-1 record and the program’s second trip in three years to the NAIA National Championship game. He has an overall record of 55-11 in his seven years as head coach and has led the Red Raiders to six straight trips to the NAIA playoffs. McCarty won his first regional honor in 2017 by guiding Northwestern to a 10-2 record and the quarterfinals of the NAIA playoffs in his second year as head coach.
2022 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year Winners
Football Bowl Subdivision: Region 1: Willie Fritz, Tulane University; Region 2: Josh Heupel, University of Tennessee; Region 3: Jim Harbaugh, University of Michigan; Region 4: Sonny Dykes, TCU; Region 5: Jonathan Smith, Oregon State University
Football Championship Subdivision: Region 1: Bob Chesney, College of the Holy Cross; Region 2: Chris Hatcher, Samford University; Region 3: Willie Simmons, Florida A&M University; Region 4: John Stiegelmeier, South Dakota State University; Region 5: Troy Taylor, Sacramento State
Division II: Region 1: Ernie McCook, Shepherd University; Region 2: Chennis Berry, Benedict College; Region 3: Matt Mitchell, Grand Valley State University; Region 4: Todd Knight, Ouachita Baptist University; Region 5: Brandon Moore, Colorado School of Mines
Division III: Region 1: Mike Toerper, Ithaca College; Region 2: Ryan Larsen, Carnegie Mellon University; Region 3: Larry Harmon, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor; Region 4: Jason Couch, Alma College; Region 5: Steve Johnson, Bethel University (Minn.)
NAIA: Region 1: Mike Jasper, Bethel University (Tenn.); Region 2: Jordan Langs, Indiana Wesleyan University; Region 3: Joe Woodley, Grand View University; Region 4: Matt McCarty, Northwestern College; Region 5: Troy Purcell, Carroll College (Mont.)
AFCA National Coach of the Year: The AFCA will announce the 2022 National Coaches of the Year winners in FBS, FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA on Monday, January 9. The Regional winners in each division are finalists for National Coach of the Year.
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, we now recognize.
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