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.