FRISCO, Texas – Coach Rob Ambrose and freshman running back Terrance West of Towson University will be honored as the winners of two of the top FCS national awards at the 25th annual FCS Awards Presentation which will be held on Friday evening, it has been announced by The Sports Network and Fathead.com.
Ambrose has been selected as the 25th winner of the Eddie Robinson Award, presented to the top football coach in FCS football and named in honor of the late Grambling coach.
West will receive the first-ever Jerry Rice Award, which is presented in honor of the former Pro Football Hall of Famer, who was an All-American wide receiver at Mississippi Valley State.
Ambrose and West join David Meggett as Tigers who have been winners of national FCS awards from The Sports Network. Meggett was the winner of the Walter Payton Award in 1988.
“Winning the Eddie Robinson Award is a great testimony to the hard work and dedication that Towson graduate Rob Ambrose has shown in his three years as the Tigers’ head football coach,” said Towson University Director of Athletics Mike Waddell. “The same is true for Baltimore native Terrance West, who will be bringing the Jerry Rice Award back to Charm City.
“This has been a season of firsts for Tiger football and this is another one,” added Waddell. “When the Tigers earned their first-ever berth in the NCAA FCS playoffs, Towson University became the first program to earn an NCAA playoff berth at the Division III, Division II and FCS levels. Now, Terrance is the first-ever winner of the Jerry Rice Award. In addition, Towson is one of the first programs to earn three different FCS national awards, along with New Hampshire, Appalachian State and Montana.
“These awards continue the legacy of Towson football,” Waddell continued. “In a relatively short time, this program has achieved a great deal. It all started with Coach Carl Runk in 1969 and continued with Coach Phil Albert in 1972. In 1992, Gordy Combs was the Tigers’ coach and now Rob Ambrose is taking the program to new heights.”
In his third season as the head coach at Towson, Ambrose led the “Turnaround Tigers” to their first Colonial Athletic Association championship. The most improved team in NCAA FCS football, the Tigers posted a 1-10 record in the 2010 season before bouncing back to compile a 9-3 record this past year. The Tigers went from 0-8 in the CAA to 7-1, winning the championship outright.
Named as the CAA Coach of the Year, Ambrose guided the Tigers to the second round of the FCS playoffs. The Middletown, Md. native has also been honored as the AFCA Regional Coach of the Year and is a finalist for the Liberty Mutual FCS Coach of the Year award.
West, a first team All-Colonial Athletic Association honoree, was also named as the CAA Offensive Rookie of the Year.
A first-year freshman, West led NCAA FCS with 29 touchdowns. He was named as a Walter Camp All-American and earned first team All-American honors from The Sports Network. The second-leading rusher in the CAA, West ran for 1,294 yards in 11 games. He is 11th in NCAA FCS with 117.6 rushing yards per game. He averaged an impressive 6.7 yards per carry.
A four-time selection as the CAA Rookie of the Week, West was also chosen as the CAA Offensive Player of the Week twice. He ran for more than 100 yards in six different games and had a career high 261 yards on 23 carries in the Tigers’ 56-42 win over New Hampshire on Nov. 12.
West scored at least two touchdowns in the final eight games of the year. He scored four touchdowns in three different games.
He also shattered the Towson University single season record for touchdowns scored with his 29 TD’s. He also broke the NCAA FCS record for freshmen with 29 touchdowns.
In fact, his 29 touchdowns represent the third-highest single season total in FCS history, a mark that has been topped by Omar Cuff of Delaware (35, 2007) and Kevin Richardson of Appalachian State (30, 2006). West matched the 29 touchdowns scored by Jamaal Branch of Colgate in 2003.
At the FCS Awards Presentation, linebacker Matt Evans of New Hampshire will be honored as the winner of the Buck Buchannan Award while the 25th winner of the Walter Payton Award will also be announced.