Bob Surace, the Charles W. Caldwell Jr. '25 Head Coach of Football, was named one of 20 finalists for the 27th annual Eddie Robinson Award, given to the FCS Head Coach of the Year, it was announced Tuesday by The Sports Network.
Surace helped guide Princeton to at least a share of the 2013 Ivy League title only two seasons after going 1-9. The Tigers have won eight straight games, the most since 1995, and they can earn both an outright title and the program's second 7-0 Ivy League mark with a win Saturday at Dartmouth (1:30 pm, Ivy League Digital Network).
"While I am honored to be among this group of finalists, this distinction is a credit to both our coaching staff and the players," Surace said. "Everybody has put in maximum effort to turn this program around, and I have been thrilled to share this journey with them. We still have more work to do, including a big challenge this weekend at Dartmouth."
Surace has led Princeton to 13 wins in the program's last 17 games, a stretch that immediately followed a span of only two wins in 22 games. Princeton has scored at least 50 points five times in the last eight games; prior to that, Princeton had scored five points in a span of 469 games.
"Bob has revitalized Princeton Football in every conceivable way," Director of Athletics Gary Walters said. "He inherited a struggling program, but he didn’t give up on the players. Through his leadership on and off the field, as a coach and a Princeton ambassador, he has restored the performance, brand and rich legacy of Princeton football.
"And in a year when our last Heisman Trophy winner, Dick Kazmaier, passed away, it is only fitting that this team could honor his memory with inspirational play, further motivated by a committed head coach," Walters added.
While Princeton, ranked 19th in the latest FCS Coaches Poll, is averaging greater than 21 points points per game more than its opponent this season, the Tigers have shown the resolve that Surace demonstrated during his earliest years on the job. Princeton has rallied in four of its last five victories, including deficits of 17 (Brown) and 16 points (Penn), as well as a pair of overtime deficits at Harvard.
"Our football program is built on tough, smart, disciplined and team-oriented people," co-defensive coordinator Jim Salgado said. "No one more exemplifies these characteristics than our leader, Bob Surace."