Posted by Chip Patterson
The real hardware Gene Chizik will be looking to hold won't be awarded until later tonight, but the Auburn head coach was already honored once Monday with the announcement of the 2010 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award winners.
Chizik joined K.C. Keeler, University of Delaware, Bob Nielson, University of Minnesota Duluth, and Glen Caruso, University of St. Thomas, as recipients of the annual award given for excellence in coaching on and off the field.
Since the award's beginnings, much of the focus has been placed on the various civic and charitable responsibilities of a head coach in today's college football. Not only is "Community Commitment" one of the categories on which nominees are graded, but also the award comes with a $50,000 donation to the winner's cause of choice, as well as $20,000 in scholarship money for the university.
The award was presented at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa, in nearby Phoenix, Hall of Fame quarterback Archie Manning was on hand to represent the College Football Hall of Fame and assist in the award presentation. The field is initially narrowed by a running fan vote that lasted through the regular season. More than 1,000,0000 fans participated to narrow the field to a group of finalists. The finalists were then chosen by a vote that was made up of 20% fan votes, 25% national football media members, and 55% by members of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Chizik, naturally, was not able to be at the award ceremony and pre-taped his acceptance. He was with the Tigers as they are going through gameday preparations for tonight's BCS National Championship Game against Oregon at 8:30 PM in the University of Phoenix Stadium.