The Sports Network announced Wednesday that head football coaches Al Lavan (Delaware State), Rod Broadway (Grambling), Pete Adrian (Norfolk State) and Henry Fraizer (Prairie View A&M) are among 16 coaches that are finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award.
The Robinson Award, named for the legendary former Grambling coach, has been given annually by The Sports Network to the FCS national coach of the year. However, no coach of an HBCU football program has ever been named coach of the year since the honor was first awarded in 1987. Let’s hope the streak ends this year.
Below are the bios of the four HBCU coaches as reported by TSN.
Al Lavan, Delaware State – In four years, Lavan has taken a program that had one winning season in the eight years prior to his arrival and turned the Hornets into MEAC champions. The Hornets are 9-1 heading into the final game of the regular season and have earned their first berth in the FCS playoffs. Lavan is 28-14 overall and 24-8 since 2005. He has Delaware State ranked No. 10 in the country for the first time since 1987. Lavan served as the interim head coach at Eastern Michigan before coming to DSU. His 35-year coaching resume includes nine years as a Dallas Cowboys assistant for Tom Landry and a stint with the 1990 San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl champions.
Rod Broadway, Grambling – In his first year at Grambling, Broadway has restored Tiger fortunes and taken the team to a 8-2 record and a berth in the SWAC championship game on December 15 in Birmingham, Ala. Before coming to Grambling, Broadway was instrumental in building North Carolina Central’s program into a Division II powerhouse and helped facilitate NCCU’s jump to Division I this season during his four years as coach. A veteran of 28 years as a coach, Broadway led NCCU to back-to-back CIAA titles for the first time since 1953-54 and last year’s No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division II Southeast Region. North Carolina Central was also ranked first nationally in defense in 2006. After a 4-6 record in Broadway’s first year, the Eagles won eight or more games in each of the next three seasons.
Pete Adrian, Norfolk State – This veteran coach has built this once-doormat MEAC team, into a potential playoff participant in just three years, while also making major strides with the program academically. The Spartans had never had a winning season since moving from Division II to FCS until this year, when they have gone 7-3 and advanced to the MEAC championship game, losing 28-21 in overtime last Saturday to Delaware State. Adrian is a 38-year coaching veteran, whose experience includes a stint as the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Enforcers of the XFL in 2001.
Henry Frazier, Prairie View – Frazier has accomplished what many thought was next to impossible by guiding Prairie View to a winning record, its first since 1976. The Panthers are 6-3 heading into a season-closing game against Alabama A&M on Saturday. In his fourth year at Prairie View, Frazier has taken a program that was among the nation’s worst before he arrived and gradually built it into a winner, going 3-8, 5-6 and 3-8 in three seasons before breaking through this year. The Panthers had won just nine games in the 13 seasons before Frazier arrived. A star quarterback at Bowie State (18-3-1 career record as a starter), Frazier returned to his alma mater in 1999 and rebuilt that school’s fortunes before moving to Prairie View. He put together three successive winning seasons from 2001-2003 for BSU, including a 2002 CIAA championship, and left as the winningest coach in school history with 26 victories.
This year’s winner will be announced on Thursday night, Dec. 13 at the Sports Network’s annual awards banquet to be held at the Marriott Hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee.