Willingham Named 2008 AFCA President

Jan. 9, 2008

ANAHEIM, Calif. - University of Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham will lead the American Football Coaches Association in 2008 as president of the organization.

Willingham, who moves up from first vice-president of the Association, succeeds outgoing president Ken Sparks of Carson-Newman College. Willingham was elected president by members attending the Association's 2008 convention this week in Anaheim.

Take a look at Washington's 2007 football schedule by clicking here.

'Football is man's greatest game, and if there is any capacity that we can serve or do something for this game, then it is a tremendous honor for that person to say that he did something to help and promote the game of football,' Willingham said. 'The reason I am president of the AFCA is because of other people, so my focus will be to help the game of football and help our membership enjoy the game of football better. Whether that means have a voice or carry their wishes in a certain agenda, it should be one year of service to help them have a better life at the game of football.'

The AFCA, founded in 1922 by Amos Alonzo Stagg, John Heisman and others, has more than 10,000 members from all levels of the profession. 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.'

In addition to Willingham, 2008 AFCA officers include first vice-president Dick Tomey of San Jose State University; second vice-president Larry Kehres of Mount Union College and third vice-president Rob Ash of Montana State University.

Also serving on the Board in 2008: Mike Bellotti, University of Oregon; Tim Murphy, Harvard University; Joe Glenn, University of Wyoming; Tommy Tuberville, Auburn University; Rich Rodriguez, University of Michigan; Mike Welch, Ithaca College; Jim Tressel, Ohio State University; Mack Brown, University of Texas; Lee Owens, Ashland University; Jim Grobe, Wake Forest University; Bill Cronin, Georgetown College (Ky.) and Rob Ianello, University of Notre Dame, ex officio member and chairman of the Assistant Coaches Committee. Lou Tepper of Indiana University (Pa.) and Frank Solich of Ohio University are newly-elected members of the Board this year. AFCA Executive Director Grant Teaff serves as secretary-treasurer of the organization.

After three seasons as the head coach at Washington, Willingham has taken significant strides toward returning the Husky program to its past glory days. His teams consistently rank among the top two in the Pac-10 in fewest penalty yards per game and 19 different players have received academic All-Pac-10 honors. The grades of recent recruiting classes at Washington have improved during Willingham's tenure and the Huskies have set or matched a number of offensive school records over the last three seasons. He came to Seattle after spending three years as the head coach at Notre Dame (2002-2004) and seven years as the head coach at Stanford. Willingham's overall record after 13 seasons as a head coach is 76-76-1.

In his inaugural season with the Irish in 2002, Willingham wasted no time reversing the tide of the Irish program, leading Notre Dame to a 10-2 regular-season record and a trip to the 2003 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. In the process, Willingham became the only first-year coach in Notre Dame history to win 10 games in his initial campaign. He was recognized for his efforts when he was named the ESPN/Home Depot College Coach of the Year, the Scripps College Coach of the Year, the Black Coaches Association Male Coach of the Year and the George Munger Award College Coach of the Year by the Maxwell Football Club. Willingham also made history when he became the first college football coach to earn The Sporting News Sportsman of the Year award in 2002. In his three seasons, Willingham guided the Irish to a 21-15 overall mark and two bowl games.

Willingham began his head coaching career at Stanford in 1995, replacing legendary professional and college coach Bill Walsh. In seven years in Palo Alto, Willingham took the Cardinal to four bowl games, the 1999 Pacific-10 Conference championship and the school's first Rose Bowl appearance in 28 years. Willingham twice was honored by his peers as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1995 and 1999) and ranks as the only Stanford coach to earn that honor more than once.

His 2001 Stanford team produced the best record of his seven seasons, with a 9-3 overall mark and a berth in the Seattle Bowl. In 1999, Willingham led the Cardinal to an 8-4 overall record, a 7-1 mark in conference play, the first Pac-10 championship for Stanford since 1971 and Stanford's first Rose Bowl appearance since January 1, 1972. He was a finalist for national coach of the year honors and was named AFCA Division I-A Region 5 Coach of the Year.

Willingham led the Cardinal to consecutive bowl games in his first two seasons at Stanford, becoming only the third Stanford football coach to accomplish that feat. He is also the only coach in school history to guide Stanford to four bowl game appearances.

Willingham was Stanford's runningbacks coach from 1989-91 before moving with head coach Dennis Green to the Minnesota Vikings, where he again coached running backs from 1992-94. He started his coaching career at Michigan State in 1977 as a graduate assistant. He then moved on to Central Michigan as a secondary coach in 1978-79. Willingham returned to Michigan State in 1980 as the defensive secondary and special teams coach. After three years, he moved to North Carolina State University for three seasons (1983-85), where he again coached special teams and the defensive secondary. Prior to accepting the position as runningbacks coach at Stanford under Green, Willingham coached receivers and special teams at Rice University from 1986-88.

The AFCA was founded in 1922 and currently has more than 10,000 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.'

For more information on the AFCA and its programs log on to the AFCA's website at www.afca.com.


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