IRVING, Texas (Jan. 8, 2019) – In front of more than 1,500 coaches at the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas, National Football Foundation (NFF) Director of Membership Ron Dilatush yesterday presented the National Football Foundation’s divisional national championship trophies to the coaches of the 2018 winning teams.
“Each year at the AFCA convention, the NFF presents the championship trophies to the coaches who have taken their teams to the pinnacle of success,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “It is fitting that we present the trophies in front of their peers, the very people who know the commitment, dedication and effort that goes into winning a national championship. We are extremely proud to join with AFCA Executive Director Todd Berry to continue this tradition of honoring the nation’s most successful coaches each year at the convention.”
NCAA Football Championship Subdivision – John F. Kennedy Trophy North Dakota State University – Coach Chris Klieman
Coach Chris Klieman led No. 1 North Dakota State (15-0) to its seventh FCS national championship in eight years with a 38-24 victory over No. 3 Eastern Washington (12-3) on Jan. 5 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The win marked Klieman’s fourth national championship as the Bison’s head coach after serving as an assistant for three other FCS titles. The title gave North Dakota State its 15th football national championship overall since 1965 and broke the FCS record of six national titles held by Georgia Southern. 2018 NFF National Scholar-Athlete and Bison quarterback Easton Stickrushed for three touchdown runs and threw for two more scores. Stick ended his college career as the winningest FCS quarterback in history with a 49-3 record. Klieman now moves to Kansas State as the Wildcats’ new head coach.
NCAA Division II – Asa S. Bushnell Trophy – Valdosta State University (Ga.)- Coach Kerwin Bell
Coach Kerwin Bell and Valdosta State (14-0) etched their names into history with a 49-47 win over Ferris State [Mich.] (15-1) in the NCAA Division II National Championship game Dec. 15 in McKinney, Texas. The victory gave Bell, who became the Blazers’ head coach in 2016, his first national championship and Valdosta State its first title since 2012 (fourth overall). Blazer quarterback Rogan Wells tied the championship record with five touchdown passes,passed for 349 yards, ran for 39 and caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Ivory Durham IV.
NCAA Division III – Amos Alonzo Stagg Trophy – University of Mary Hardin–Baylor (Texas) – Coach Pete Fredenburg
Coach Pete Fredenburg and Mary Hardin-Baylor (15-0) notched a 24-16 victory over Mount Union [Ohio] (14-1) Dec. 14 to win the national title in the first Stagg Bowl played in Shenandoah, Texas. The Crusaders’ victory, which came in a rematch of last year’s title game against Mount Union , gave Mary Hardin-Baylor and Fredenburg their second national title. Fredenburg, who launched the Mary Hardin-Baylor program in 1998, has taken the Crusaders’ to the title game the past three consecutive seasons, winning in 2016. His overall record now stands at 225–39 and also includes a title appearance in 2004. Crusader wide receiver T.J. Josey claimed most outstanding player honors, hauling in five receptions for 78 yards while rushing for 21 yards.
NAIA – Dwight D. Eisenhower Trophy – Morningside College (Iowa) – Coach Steve Ryan
Coach Steve Ryan and Morningside (15-0) claimed their first national championship with a dramatic 35-28 win over Benedictine College [Kan.] (13-2) Dec. 15 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Ryan, who took over the top job in 2002, has amassed an overall record of 170–40, earning him NAIA National Coach of the Year honors in 2004 and Great Plains Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors four times. Morningside quarterback Trent Solsma connected with wide receiver Connor Niles for a 16-yard touchdown with 1:29 remaining to overcome a 20-13 halftime deficit and win the title. Niles set the new NAIA record for receiving yards in a career and was named offensive MVP of the championship.