CHARLESTON, S.C. (CIT) – The Citadel head coach Kevin Higgins has been selected as one of 20 finalists for the Eddie Robinson Award, presented annually by The Sports Network to the top coach in FCS football.
The winner of the Eddie Robinson Award along with the other postseason honors will be announced at the FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation on Dec. 17 in Philadelphia.
Higgins earned a spot among the finalists after leading the Bulldogs to a record of 7-4 for their first winning season since 2007 and only the second seven-win season since The Citadel won its second and most recent Southern Conference championship in 1992.
The Bulldogs also finished 5-3 in the SoCon, their first winning record in league play since going 4-3 in 2006 and 2007 and the most conference victories since going 6-1 in 1992. The Citadel finished in a three-way tie for fourth after being picked to finish eighth of nine teams in the preseason poll.
Under the eighth-year head coach, The Citadel started the season with three straight wins including victories over perennial league powers Georgia Southern (23-21 on Sept. 8 in Charleston) and Appalachian State (52-28 on Sept. 15 in Boone, N.C.).
The Eagles entered the game against the Bulldogs ranked third in the nation by The Sports Network while the Mountaineers were eighth. It marked the first time since a win over East Tennessee State in 1997 that The Citadel defeated a Top 10 team and first time since 1991 that the Bulldogs defeated two Top 10 teams in one season (Appalachian State and Furman).
The hot start moved The Citadel into The Sports Network Top 25 for the first time since spending seven weeks in the poll in 2008. The Bulldogs reached as high as No. 10 after the victory over the Mountaineers and were in the rankings for a total of four weeks during the season.
The Bulldogs nearly added a third Top 10 victim on Oct. 27 in Spartanburg when they rallied from 17 down before dropping a narrow 24-21 to then eighth-ranked Wofford. That loss was part of a midseason slump which saw The Citadel drop four of five games.
The Bulldogs rallied at the end of the year to win their final three games, including road victories over longtime rivals VMI to retain the Silver Shako and Furman. That win over the Paladins put The Citadel on the cusp of earning an FCS playoff bid for the first time since 1992 before that dream ended on Sunday.