Jamey Chadwell of Coastal Carolina was named Football Coach of the Year by Associated Press College after leading the Chanticleers to an amazing and almost perfect season.
Chadwell received 16 first-place votes and 88 points in the PA Top 25, ahead of Tom Allen of Indiana, who finished second with 14 first-place votes and 66 points. Luke Fickell from Cincinnati is third (5, 44) and Nick Saban from Alabama fourth (8, 42).
Chadwell is the first coach of the Conference of the Sunbelt to win the AP prize, which was established in 1988, and the third coach to win the prize with a non-league Power Five team. UCF’s Scott Frost was named the PA Coach of the Year of 2017 and Gary Patterson won the first of two PA awards with UCF in 2009 when the Horned Frogs participated in Mountain West.
Brent Brennan of San Jose State finished fifth, which means three coaches were among the top five teams this year.
Chadwell, 43, led a breakthrough season for Coastal Carolina’s No. 9 (11-1) in his third year.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Jamie Chadwell coached Coastal Carolina to an 11-0 unbeaten regular season record. The only loss for the Chanticleers in 2020 was the defeat against the Liberty in the FBC Mortgage Bowl. AP Photo/John Amis
They were selected in the Sun Belt East division after finishing 5-7 (2-6) last year.
I knew we weren’t as bad as people said we were, Chadwell. I thought it was gonna be okay. I knew we’d get better.
Instead, South Carolina had its best season since moving to the Bowl subdivision in 2017 behind the creative option of quarterback Grayson McCall.
The Blackhawks made it to the Sun Belt championship, although they were unable to attend due to problems with VIDOC-19 in the programme. But they finished a perfectly regular season that included victories over Sun Belt West Louisiana-Lafayette and triple Appalachian State Conference champion.
McCall was injured in the victory against Louisiana-Lafayette and will not play next week. When the Chanticleers defeated Georgia Southern the next week, even without McCall, Chadwell knew he had something special.
No one panicked, Mr. Chadwell said. We got the attention of the whole country after the game in Louisiana, and I started to worry that it would go to our heads, but it did not. And after that race, when we found a way to win, I thought it would be hard for us to win from now on.
Coastal Carolina also beat BYU in one of the best games of this weird season. After a viral outbreak Liberty had to cancel a program planned for the 5th edition. Dec. to Conway, S.C., to cancel a scheduled non-conference game, the Panthers and Chants agreed to play in a very short period of time.
Coastal won the thriller 22-17, causing BYU to stop the winning touchdown in the last part of the game with a short run to the goal line.
Earlier this week senior guard Tarron Jackson was named AP All-American and senior guard C.J. Brewer was selected for the third team.
It was the best upper class I’ve ever seen, Chadwell said.
The Chants’ perfect season ended last week when they lost in the Healing Bowl in overtime to the Liberty.
Chadwell joined Coastal Carolina in 2017 as offensive coordinator for former coach Joe Moglia after four successful seasons at FCS Charleston Southern. Instead of being offensive coordinator, Chadwell was acting head coach at Coastal in his first season when Moglia had to resign for health reasons.
It was the worst year of my life as a professional. It was so hard, Chadwell said. It was actually a substitute teacher when everyone knew the teacher was coming back.
Moglia returned for a season in 2018 before retiring and making way for Chadwell, who quickly took the program to new heights.
I never doubted it would work. I felt what we were doing, Chadwell said. I think this year might be the first time it’s really been my team.
And it turned out to be the best team in the history of the school.
Everyone wants the year 2020 to be over. I kept telling my wife I was hoping he’d make it to the 31st. December made, and we kept pushing it back because it was incredible, said Chadwell.