There was no way anybody else deserved to win this award, and in the end the voting backed it up.
In August, Portland State’s Bruce Barnum was an interim coach at a program that had gone 3-8 the year before (with one win against a lower division school, Western Oregon). In December, he’s no longer an interim coach, he took the program to nine wins, and the team got a first-round bye into the second round of the FCS Playoffs. Barnum also led the Vikings to their first win ever over a Pac-12 opponent (Washington State), pretty much cost an FBS coach his job after hanging 60 points on North Texas, and basically shook up the entire Big Sky Conference. What was once a mid-range Big Sky team was now going toe to toe and also beating the Eastern Washingtons, Montanas, you name it.
“I never had a number,” Barnum said after learning of the honor. “But I heard a lot of, ‘If you won four, you’re doing a heck of a job,’ (and) ‘If you win five football games with that schedule … you’ll be Coach of the Year in the Big Sky.'”
Barnum will be honored at the national awards banquet prior to the national title game in Frisco (Texas) in January.
The final voting results:
1. Bruce Barnum, Portland State: 48-29-20-7-6-436
2. John Grass, Jacksonville State: 44-24-21-16-7-418
3. Matt Viator, McNeese State: 17-24-16-16-20-281
4. Jamey Chadwell, Charleston Southern: 15-16-23-24-19-275
5. Mike Houston, The Citadel: 4-23-26-21-24-256
6. Ed Lamb, Southern Utah: 7-13-13-16-15-173
7. Broderick Fobbs, Grambling State: 6-9-5-11-7-110
8. Ray Priore, Penn: 3-2-5-5-13-61
9. Rick Chamberlin, Dayton: 0-4-6-6-10-56
10. John Stiegelmeier, South Dakota State: 0-0-5-10-12-47
11. Danny Rocco, Richmond: 0-2-3-8-8-41
12. Dan Hunt, Colgate: 1-0-4-5-5-32
13. Jerry Mack, North Carolina Central: 0-2-3-3-2-25
14. Jerry Schmitt, Duquesne: 3-1-0-0-1-20
15. Chris Villarrial, Saint Francis: 2-1-0-2-1-19
A first-place vote was worth five points, a second-place vote four points, a third-place vote three points, a fourth-place vote two points and a fifth-place vote one point.