(STATS) – Sacramento State built Troy Taylor’s first season as a college head coach into a theme.
The Hornets won nine regular-season games, captured a share of the Big Sky Conference title and qualified for the FCS playoffs – all firsts for the program – just one year after Sacramento State finished 2-8 overall and 0-7 in conference.
Having led the nation’s biggest improvement, Taylor was announced Thursday as recipient of the 2019 STATS FCS Eddie Robinson Award, which is named for the legendary Grambling State coach and since 1987 has honored the national coach of the year in college football’s Division I subdivision.
Taylor will be honored at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet Jan. 10 in Frisco, Texas – on the eve of the national championship game. The Robinson had 15 finalists, and runner-up Matt Entz of North Dakota State and third-place finisher Mark Hudspeth of Austin Peay also are in their first season leading their schools.
“I’m honored to be chosen as the Eddie Robinson Award winner,” Taylor said. “The success we had this season at Sacramento State is due to the contribution of many administrators, support staff, coaches and, of course, our incredibly committed and resilient players. I accept this award on behalf of all those involved that have made this season a success.”
The 51-year-old Taylor, a former star quarterback at Cal, is known as an innovative play caller. The offensive coordinator at Utah when he was hired by Sacramento State last December, he coached previously in the Big Sky as an Eastern Washington assistant in 2016.
Sacramento State went 9-4, with only two losses to FCS teams, and its regular season was highlighted by three straight wins over nationally ranked opponents – traditional Big Sky powers Eastern Washington, Montana State and Montana. Fifteen Hornets earned All-Big Sky honors, led by quarterback Kevin Thomson, the conference’s offensive player of the year.
A national panel of 156 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries voted on the Robinson Award following the regular season. Voters selected a Top 5 on their ballot.
The 2019 Eddie Robinson Award results:
1. Troy Taylor, Sacramento State: 66-18-14-10-8-472
2. Matt Entz, North Dakota State: 26-30-26-24-12-388
3. Mark Hudspeth, Austin Peay: 13-23-23-21-10-278
4. Kevin Callahan, Monmouth: 16-19-16-18-21-261
5. Ryan McCarthy, Central Connecticut State: 9-19-21-21-16-242
6. Curt Cignetti, James Madison: 4-19-16-14-16-188
7. Greg Gattuso, UAlbany: 7-13-12-9-10-151
8. Scott Wachenheim, VMI: 3-2-5-7-10-62
9. Buddy Pough, South Carolina State: 1-2-6-10-7-58
10. Buddy Teevens, Dartmouth: 2-3-3-7-12-57
11. Bernard Clark Jr., Robert Morris: 5-3-3-4-2-56
12. Nathan Brown, Central Arkansas: 1-5-4-4-9-54
13. Bob Chesney, Holy Cross: 3-0-3-4-6-38
14. Dale Lindsey, San Diego: 0-0-2-2-13-23
15. Connell Maynor, Alabama A&M: 0-0-2-1-4-12
A first-place vote was worth five points, a second-place vote four points, a third-place vote three points, a fourth-place vote two points and a fifth-place vote one point.