The regular season has ended, and the playoffs are in the midst of an exciting rollercoaster ride to the finish of the D2 Football season.
But before is all said and done, we come together to honor those who were the best at their craft during the season. We of course, are talking about the HERO Sports Fan Choice awards where you decide who will take home the hardware.
Starting with Coach of The Year, take a look at the bevy of candidates below and vote for your favorite afterwards. Make sure to spread the word as best as you can as well so your favorite nominee can get even more votes.
Without any further delay, let's find out who will be the 2017 Fan Choice Coach of The Year!
Poll closes at NOON Pacific, Friday December 1, 2017.
*Records and statistics reflect games completed as of 11/19/17
Paul Tortorella, Indiana (PA)
2017 Record: 11-0 (7-0, PSAC)
PSAC Conference Champions
Super Region One Top Seed
PSAC West Coach of The Year
Beginning the 2017 season as "Acting" coach, Tortorella turned IUP into one of the premier teams in the country in his first season, and arguably the most complete on both sides of the ball. Capturing the top seed in SR1, the Crimson Hawks are well on their way to a potential semifinals berth, and they should be considered heavy favorites to get to Kansas City.
Rob Keys, Findlay
2017 Record: 10-2 (6-1, G-MAC)
Super Region One NCAA Qualifier
Keys may not have the accolades of some other coaches, but the seventh-year head ball coach guided the Oilers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in their 17-year existence. To top that off, he helped lead the Oilers to one of the biggest upsets in the entire season as UF toppled two-time defending regional champ Shepherd on the road. The first year in SR1 suited Findlay well, and it was all behind their coach who built up a level of success.
Reggie Barlow, Virginia State
2017 Record: 10-1 (7-0, CIAA)
CIAA Conference Champions
Super Region Two NCAA Qualifier
CIAA Coach of The Year
A second-year coach with the Trojans, Barlow led VSU to better success than the last few years before his tenure as the program moved into SR2 with the CIAA. The move fit perfectly, and VSU ended up with a second seed in the NCAA playoffs. Unfortunately their season came to an end in the first round, but there is enough talent growing up for next season that Barlow should just be beginning a string of success.
Brett Gilliland, West Alabama
2017 Record: 9-2 (7-1, Gulf South)
Gulf South Conference Champions
Super Region Two Top Seed
GSC Coach of The Year
A former star quarterback at UWA, Gilliland led the Tigers to their best finish in quite some time by winning the Gulf South. Picked to finish fifth in the conference in the preseason polls, West 'Bama took that all to heart and used it to catapult their way to a first-round bye in the NCAA Playoffs. With four GSC teams left as of the time of this writing in the D2 Playoff field, we could just see even more accolades befall the player-turned-coach.
Chris Brown, Fort Hays State
2017 Record: 11-0 (11-0, MIAA)
MIAA Conference Champions
Super Region Three Top Seed
MIAA Coach of The Year
In his seventh season at the helm of FHSU, Brown set many marks for the program that will be hard to beat at any time in the near future. The biggest of them all is wins in a season, reaching the double-digit mark for the first time as a program. Also important was the fact the Tigers beat defending national champion NW Missouri State to be the first outright MIAA champ since 2012 that was not NWMSU, giving the Tigers their first conference championship since 1995.
Bob Bartolomeo, Indianapolis
2017 Record: 11-1 (7-0, GLVC)
GLVC Conference Champions
Super Region Three NCAA Qualifier
GLVC Coach of The Year
Capturing the fifth GLVC title in the last six seasons, Bartolmeo took UIndy even further with an undefeated regular season, kick-started by upsetting then second-ranked Grand Valley State on the first night of the season. Since then, the Greyhounds were one of the hottest teams in the nation, and frankly pretty young too. Though their season ended in upset fashion in the D2 Playoffs, this is just the beginning of a potential dynasty for UIndy and their highly successful coach who is looking for national recognition.
Ian Shoemaker, Central Washington
2017 Record: 11-0 (8-0, GNAC)
GNAC Conference Champions
Super Region Four Top Seed
GNAC Coach of The Year
Behind a few non-conference wins against decent competition and a perfect conference season, CWU catapulted themselves into the conversation of biggest upstart to the 2017 season after a 7-3 campaign in 2016 that ended without a playoff appearance.
Todd Hoffner, Minnesota State
2017 Record: 12-0 (11-0, NSIC)
NSIC Conference Champions
Super Region Four NCAA Qualifier
NSIC Coach of The Year
Following a down 8-3 season in 2016, MSU returned with a vengeance to prove they are still among the elite programs in D2 over the last half-century and change. With their best record since 2014 when they finished 14-1, the Mavericks steamrolled nearly every opponent on their schedule with a great offense and even better defense to lead the charge. 16 players were honored as All-conference, and a few more received nominations for national awards such as the Harlon Hill. As long as the ride continues, there may have been no better complete team than Minnesota State this season.