Regional
11:07 am
Thu January 9, 2003

Harbaugh Named National Coach of the Year

Bowling Green, KY – The American Football Coaches Association announced Tuesday at the conclusion of its 2003 convention that Western Kentucky University head coach Jack Harbaugh was selected National I-AA Coach of the Year in a vote of his peers.

Harbaugh wins the award for the first time after leading the Hilltoppers to their first NCAA Division I-AA national championship with a 34-14 victory over top-seeded McNeese State Dec. 20 in Chattanooga.

WKU also defeated the second and third seeds in the playoffs, and ended the year with 10 consecutive victories - that's the longest streak in a single season in the school's 84 years of football. He has a career record of 116-95-3 in 19 years of coaching, including a 91-68 mark in 14 seasons on the Hill. His efforts have helped lead Western to seven consecutive winning seasons - the third-longest streak in school history - four NCAA playoff appearances in the last six years and a pair of conference championships in the new millennium. In fact, he has a 22-6 record in league games since the Toppers rejoined the Ohio Valley Conference prior to the 1999 season, winning the OVC title in 2000 and sharing the 2002 Gateway Football Conference championship.

WKU has won 57 of its last 77 contests (71.4%), and has reached the postseason three straight years for the first time in Hilltopper history after qualifying for the 2002 playoffs.

Harbaugh has earned AFCA Region 3 Coach-of-the-Year honors on two previous occasions, in 1997 and 2000 after making his first two playoff appearances. He was also the '97 Division I-AA Independents Coach of the Year and was selected OVC Coach of the Year in 2000. He ranks second at Western in wins, games and seasons coached.

Harbaugh has been invited to serve as an assistant coach at the 2003 Hula Bowl, which will take place at 7 p.m. (CST) on Feb. 1 in Maui,Hawaii.

(courtesy of WKU: for more visit http://www.wku.edu)