GREENVILLE, S.C. — Furman head coach Clay Hendrix is among 20 finalists for the 2023 Eddie Robinson Award, which is given annually to the national coach of the year in Division FCS college football and presented by FedEx Ground.
The winner, to be selected by a national voting panel, will be announced on Dec. 7 and honored at the FCS National Awards Banquet on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas – the eve of the FCS championship game.
The award, first presented in 1987 and in its 37th season, is named for legendary Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson.
Hendrix, now in his seventh season as head coach of the Paladins, guided Furman to a 9-2 regular season, including a 7-1 Southern Conference mark that netted the program the outright SoCon championship and No. 7 seed heading into the 24-team FCS playoffs, which get underway this Saturday. By virtue of its top eight seed, Furman earned a first round bye and will play host to the winner of the Chattanooga-Austin Peay game on Dec. 2 at 1:00 p.m. in a quarterfinal round matchup in Paladin Stadium.
The nine-win regular season is the second straight for Furman under Hendrix, who coached the Paladins to a 10-3 record a year ago. This year’s FCS playoff appearance will be the fourth for Furman with Hendrix at the helm (2017, ‘19, ‘22, ‘23). He sports a 50-28 record (.641) as head coach at his alma mater and has guided the Paladins to a pair of SoCon championships (2018 & ‘23).
In claiming its all-time SoCon leading 15th crown this fall, Furman, which was a consensus No. 2 in both major FCS polls for three weeks, tied the school standard for consecutive league victories (13), including a program record for SoCon road wins (8). The Paladins currently sport a nine-game home winning streak and are 21-5 in their last 26 contests (.808).
Now in his 30th season with Paladin football, which includes tenures as a player (1982-85), assistant coach (1988-06), and head coach (2017-present), the Commerce, Ga., native has been part of 244 Furman wins over the years and had a hand in 11 of the program’s 15 SoCon titles. In addition, he played in the 1985 FCS (formerly I-AA) national championship game and was an assistant coach during Furman’s 1988 national championship season and title game appearance in 2001.
Three Furman coaches have been recognized as national coach of the year — Dick Sheridan (1985), Jimmy Satterfield (1988), and Bobby Johnson (2001). Sheridan recruited and coached Hendrix as a player, and Hendrix later served as an assistant under both Satterfield and Johnson.
2023 Eddie Robinson Award Finalists
Mark Ferrante, Villanova (CAA Football)
Greg Gattuso, UAlbany (CAA Football)
Bobby Hauck, Montana (Big Sky Conference)
Clay Hendrix, Furman (Southern Conference)
Tre Lamb, Gardner-Webb (Big South-OVC Football Association)
Tim Murphy, Harvard (Ivy League)
Bob Nielson, South Dakota (Missouri Valley Football Conference)
Trei Oliver, North Carolina Central (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)
Tim Rebowe, Nicholls (Southland Conference)
Danny Rocco, VMI (Southern Conference)
Jimmy Rogers, South Dakota State (Missouri Valley Football Conference)
Pete Rossomando, Lamar (Southland Conference)
Jerry Schmitt, Duquesne (Northeast Conference)
Larry Scott, Howard (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)
Willie Simmons, Florida A&M (Southwestern Athletic Conference)
Todd Stepsis, Drake (Pioneer Football League)
John Troxell, Lafayette (Patriot League)
Scotty Walden, Austin Peay (United Athletic Conference)
Todd Whitten, Tarleton (United Athletic Conference)
Chris Wilkerson, Eastern Illinois (Big South-OVC Football Association)