Officials from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl today announced that Louisiana head football coach Billy Napier has been selected as The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week.
The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week award honors a football coach who led his team to a significant victory during the previous week, while also embodying the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity.
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns secured one of the biggest wins in program history with a 31-14 upset over No. 23 Iowa State in Ames. The win represented Louisiana’s first-ever victory against a ranked opponent on the road and its first win against a ranked team since defeating Texas A&M during the 1996 season.
The Ragin’ Cajuns were ignited by two special teams touchdowns, including Chris Smith’s 95-yard kickoff return in the second quarter and Eric Garror’s 83-yard punt return in the third. Louisiana’s defense was also relentless down the stretch, holding Iowa State scoreless over the final 31:17 of the contest.
“This was truly a historic win for the Ragin’ Cajun football team,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “Coach Dodd would have been proud of Billy Napier’s ability to lead his team to such a big victory on the road to start the season, especially given all of the challenges this unique offseason has brought.”
Napier is now in his third season with the Ragin’ Cajuns after being named the 27th head coach at Louisiana in December 2017. In his first two seasons in Lafayette, he led the program to consecutive appearances in the Sun Belt Championship Game with back-to-back Western Division titles.
Last season, he was voted the program’s first-ever Sun Belt Coach of the Year after leading the Ragin’ Cajuns to a record-breaking 11-3 overall record, while also breaking numerous school records, including the most points in a season (531) and the most total offense in a single season (6,918).
Napier’s program hallmarks – integrity, togetherness, discipline, effort and toughness – have instilled a renewed sense of identity in the Ragin’ Cajuns football program, both on and off the field. Napier has worked to give his student-athletes the best chance to succeed in the classroom, leading Louisiana to a 956 APR score last season, a four point increase from the previous year.
“Coach Napier has had an immediate impact on the Ragin’ Cajun football program,” said Gary Stokan, CEO and president of Peach Bowl, Inc. “He’s raised the program’s APR off the field and just landed his football team in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1943.”
The Dodd Trophy presented by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – along with the Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week Award – celebrates the head coach of a FBS team who enjoys success on the gridiron, while also stressing the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity.
A panel consisting of all previous winners, national media, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member will identify the final list of potential recipients at the conclusion of the 2020 season. The winner of the 2020 Dodd Trophy will be announced in Atlanta during the week of this year’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
(Release provided by the Chick Fil A Peach Bowl)