Sam Houston State coach K.C. Keeler wins Eddie Robinson Award

Sam Houston State coach K.C. Keeler added another achievement to his résumé Wednesday, winning the Eddie Robinson Award honoring the FCS coach of the year.

By directing the No. 1 Bearkats to an unbeaten regular season, Keeler narrowly edged out The Citadel's Brent Thompson among 15 finalists representing all 13 FCS conferences. Voting was conducted by a national panel of more than 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries.

"It's a great honor to receive an award named after one of the legendary coaches in the history of college football," said Keeler, who has won a national championship and has more than 200 victories over his 23-year career. "I know Coach Robinson and my college coach, Tubby Raymond, had a relationship, and I know Coach Raymond loved telling stories about Coach Robinson because I know the respect that he had for Coach Robinson."

Keeler oversaw one of the most dominant regular seasons in recent memory, with the Bearkats outscoring their 11 opponents by a 596-285 margin behind one of the most productive offenses in FCS history. That was followed with a 41-36 win over Chattanooga in the second round of the playoffs as quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe -- one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award -- threw five touchdown passes to set the subdivision's single-year record with 57.

Sam Houston State leads the FCS with averages of 53.1 points and 570.4 total yards -- both school records -- and ranks second in passing offense (385.8 YPG).

Keeler attained a significant milestone as well, earning career win No. 200 during the Bearkats' 63-28 rout of rival Stephen F. Austin on Oct. 1 to become the ninth-fastest coach to reach the mark across all levels. Thirty-seven of those victories have come in NCAA postseason games, and his 18-5 record in the FCS playoffs stands as the highest winning percentage among all active coaches with at least 15 games.