Talley Named Finalist for Liberty Mutual Division II Coach of the Year

Skyhawks seventh-year mentor is one of five finalists in Division II

EASTON, Mass. (December 10, 2013) – Stonehill College football head coach Robert Talley has been named one of five NCAA Division II finalists for the 2013 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, honoring coaches who best exemplify responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship and excellence both on and off the field. The announcement was made today by National Football Foundation (NFF) Chairman Archie Manning and Glenn Greenburg of Liberty Mutual Insurance at today's NFF Awards Press Conference in New York City.

Talley, who will also be honored as the New England Football Writers New England Coach of the Year for Divisions II and III on Thursday night, is the first Stonehill football head coach to be named a finalist for Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year which has distributed more than $1.8-million to over 100 charities and colleges across the country since the program was initiated in 2006. Now in its eighth year, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award is the only college football coaching award that promotes both charity and scholarship through its winners.

"It is an honor to be recognized among the top football coaches, not only in Division II, but in the country," said Talley. "You tell the players it's always nice to have people recognize you and this is a reflection of how much the team worked for what they did this season. However, what I am most excited about regarding the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year program is the opportunity to give back to some charities that the entire Stonehill football team supports on a regular basis."

Should Talley win Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year for Division II, he will receive $50,000 from Liberty Mutual to donate to his favorite charities and a $20,000 contribution to the Stonehill Alumni Association for scholarships. Talley has identified The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as well the Boys & Girls Club of Brockton as his charities of choice.

Fans can support Coach Talley's candidacy for Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year by voting once a day at CoachoftheYear.com through December 22. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Beginning today through December 22, fans can vote daily at CoachoftheYear.com or Facebook.com/LMCoachoftheYear. Stonehill fans have a voice in the final outcome, with 20 percent of each finalist's ultimate standing dependent on fan votes. In addition, each vote during this period will serve as an official entry into the "Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Fan Experience Sweepstakes," awarding one lucky fan tickets and airfare for two to the 2014 regular season college football game of their choice. The sweepstakes winner will be chosen by a random drawing on December 23. Liberty Mutual Insurance will announce the four Coach of the Year winners prior to the BCS Championship game on January 6, 2014, in Newport Beach, Calif.

"Throughout the voting process, Stonehill College and its fans and alumni showed tremendous support for coach Robert Talley, speaking volumes to his importance to the community both on and off the field," said James MacPhee, senior vice president and Chief Marketing Officer at Liberty Mutual Insurance. "Liberty Mutual Insurance is proud to recognize Coach Talley as one of this year's Division II finalists for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, celebrating his leadership and mentorship to his players, as well as his dedication to the communities surrounding Stonehill."

In all, 25 finalists – 10 in the Football Bowl Subdivision and five each in the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II and Division III – were determined by an objective scoring model endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame, incorporating such criteria as wins, team penalties, sportsmanship, academic performance by the student-athletes, and charitable commitments in their community and beyond. To qualify for the scoring model, each coach needed to finish among the top 15 in fan voting in his division from September 24 until December 3.

The winners, to be announced January 6, 2014, will be determined by a weighted voting system. Fan votes in this period will account for 20-percent of each coach's final score, with votes from two committees of college football media (25-percent) and College Football Hall of Fame players and coaches (55-percent) also being considered.

Talley led Stonehill, picked seventh in the Northeast-10 Conference's preseason coaches' poll, to its first winning season since 1996 with an 8-3 record overall and claimed a share of its first NE-10 regular season championship with a program best 8-1 mark in Conference play. Stonehill's eight wins finished just one shy of the program record in 1995 (9-2), while its three losses all came to teams selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament. Talley has led Stonehill to back to back winning seasons in NE-10 play for the first time in program history and participated in the Conference Championship game for the first time on November 16.

Stonehill also made its debut in three major polls over the course of the season. Stonehill was among teams receiving votes in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll six weeks over the course of the season and is ranked sixth in this week's Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Lambert Meadowlands poll after being ranked as high as fifth. The Skyhawks were ranked as high as seventh in the NCAA Division II Super Region 1 rankings used for NCAA Tournament consideration and appeared in all three polls leading up to selection Sunday.

Talley led the Skyhawks to their first winning season in 17 years and a share of the NE-10 regular season championship. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Stonehill produced a program-record nine All-Northeast-10 selections this season under Talley's leadership, all of which are underclassmen and just one a repeat honoree. Junior linebacker Brian Harrington (Rockland, Mass./Rockland) and junior wide receiver Nate Robitaille (Attleboro, Mass./Attleboro) have also been selected as Daktronics All-Super Region 1 and All-New England by the New England Football Writers. Harrington is also the first player in program history to earn the Joseph P. Zabilski Defensive Player of the Year award from the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston after setting an NE-10 and program record with his 151 tackles this season, marking the 10th-highest single-season total in Division II history.

Stonehill led the Northeast-10 in turnovers forced (30), fumble recoveries (14) and fourth down conversion percentage (53-percent/8-for-15), while ranking second for scoring defense (24.3 ppg), interceptions (16) and red zone offense (86%/32-for-37) and third for passing defense (246.8 yds per game). The Skyhawks were also the least penalized team in the Northeast-10 with an average of 4.1 penalties per game for 34.7 yards per game – ranking seventh nationally in Division II for both statistics – while ranking 18th nationally for turnovers gained and fumble recoveries.

Talley led Stonehill to its first five game winning streak since 1996, including back to back road wins at Southern Connecticut State University and the University of New Haven in mid-October that marked the program's first ever wins in the City of New Haven over the perennial regional powers. The 29-26 comeback win over New Haven was the first in program history and snapped the Chargers 22 game NE-10 winning streak and was among four comeback wins by the Skyhawks from double-figure deficits over the course of the season.

Talley, who was named the D2Football.com Northeast-10 Coach of the Year in 2012, has led Stonehill to a 36-36 (.500) record over his seven seasons, including a 30-27 (.526) clip in Northeast-10 play. The program's all-time coaching wins leader guided the program to five .500 seasons for the first time since the early 1990s and just the second time in program history overall.

Talley has produced 34 All-Northeast-10 Conference honorees, including this year's program record total. In addition to two All-Americans, the program has also produced two All-Super Region I and four All-New England selections over his five seasons to date. Following the 2009 season, Stonehill received the NE-10's Team Sportsmanship Award for the sport of football. Stonehill has also had student-athletes perform in the classroom under his watch, with the team showing the highest improvement in cumulative GPA among Stonehill's male sports in 2012 and senior James Lanier (Westampton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) was named a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete award & William V. Campbell Trophy this fall after earning Capital One Academic All-District I honors as a junior.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks mobile app on iTunes and the Android Market. 

About Liberty Mutual Insurance

"Helping people live safer, more secure lives" since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance is a diversified global insurer and the third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2012 direct premiums written as reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Liberty Mutual Insurance also ranks 81st on the Fortune 100 list of largest U.S. corporations, based on 2012 revenue. The company employs over 50,000 people in approximately 900 offices throughout the world.

The sixth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual (libertymutual.com) sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance. The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering car and home insurance to employees and members of more than 14,000 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups.

Liberty Mutual Insurance is the Official Property and Casualty and Life Insurance Partner of the 2014 and 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams. Liberty Seguros (Brazil) is a National Supporter and Official Insurer of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2013 FIFA Confederation Cup, both of which are in Brazil. 

About the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame

Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Award presented by Fidelity Investments, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl, the William V. Campbell Trophy endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. For more information, please visit www.footballfoundation.org.