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The American Football Coaches Association is proud to announce its 2011 Assistant Coach of the Year winners. One assistant coach from the five divisions of college football has been selected for their dedication to their teams and communities.
Earning the NAIA honor this year is Georgetown College's offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Craig Mullins, a 15-year veteran on the Orange & Black sidelines. After graduating from GC in 1991, he began coaching as an assistant at Ryle High School. From there, Mullins moved to Pennsylvania to coach with Kevin Donley, who coached him during his time at Georgetown.
Mullins returned to his alma mater in 1997 when Bill Cronin was named head coach. Since that time, GC has won two national championships and been runner-up twice. Mullins has coached two Mid-South Conference Offensive Players of the Year, one of which was Eddie Eviston. The quarterback also was three-time NAIA Offensive Player of the Year and once NAIA Outstanding Player of the Year honoree.
This season alone, the Tigers offense is third in the nation for first downs, fifth in total pass offense, 11th pass offense per game, 13th scoring offense per game, 17th in total offensive yards per game and 20th in third down conversions. Many anticipated this year's offense to be so stellar, but behind the direction of seasoned-quarterback Kaelin Ammons. Mullins lost his senior signal caller early in the fourth game of the season and has since be bringing true freshman Neal Pawsat along. The Tigers have not missed a beat, going undefeated thus far. They are No. 3 in the nation and will play in the 2011 NAIA Football Championship Series Semifinals this Saturday against Carroll College in Montana.
Mullins is also very active in his church and community outreach. He serves as a volunteer with Harmony Christian Church by teaching Bible classes, leading youth groups and serving as a greeter. He supervises the community service projects of the football team, which has accumulated over 1,000 hours of community service the past two years. The team has participated in Habitat for Humanity projects, volunteered at Quest Farm and visited numerous senior citizen homes. He is also involved with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which has worked at various events such as Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army and promotes blood drives on campus. He serves as the football team's academic coordinator and volunteers with the "M.A.L.E. 8" program, which is a mentoring program for young students at Georgetown.
Each year, staff representatives from NCAA and NAIA football-playing schools are asked to nominate an assistant for consideration. From those nominations, a winner is selected by the AFCA Public Relations Committee.
The Assistant Coach of the Year award was first presented in 1997 and was created to honor assistant coaches who excel in community service, commitment to the student-athlete, on-field coaching success and AFCA professional organization involvement.
Other 2011 honorees are as follows: Football Bowl Subdivision-Norm Parker, Defensive Coordinator, University of Iowa; Football Championship Subdivision-Jason McEndoo, Offensive Line Coach, Montana State University; Division II-Hank McClung, Offensive Line Coach, University of Central Missouri; and Division III-Greg Peterson, Offensive Coordinator, Bethel (Minn.) University.
"Once again, five outstanding assistant coaches have been selected for their dedication, not only to their teams, but to their communities," said Executive Director Grant Teaff. "Often times, the head coach receives much of the credit for his team's success, but any head coach is only as good as his assistants. Much of an assistant coach's work is done behind the scenes. It is our pleasure to bring it to the forefront."
The criteria for the award is not limited to on-field coaching ability or the success of the team and players that these assistant coaches work with. Service to the community through charitable work and other volunteer activities, participation in AFCA activities and events, participation in other professional organizations and impact on student-athletes are all taken into account in the selection process.
Winners of the Assistant Coach of the Year Award will receive a plaque to commemorate the award and an educational stipend to attend the 2013 AFCA Convention or another professional development clinic/convention of their choice. They will be honored at the AstroTurf President's Kickoff Luncheon, Monday, January 9 at the 2012 AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
The AFCA was founded in 1922 and currently has more than 11,000 members around the world, ranging from the high school level to the professional ranks. According to its constitution, the AFCA was formed, in part, to "maintain the highest possible standards in football and the coaching profession" and to "provide a forum for the discussion and study of all matters pertaining to football and coaching."