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Fort Wayne Freedom coach gets AFCA honor

December 9, 2008 - Continental Indoor Football League (CIFL) Fort Wayne Freedom

WACO, TEX. - Another honor is coming to Trine University football. The American Football Coaches Association has honored Head Coach Matt Land as NCAA Division III Co-Region Four Coach of the Year. Land shares the honor with Larry Kehres of perennial power Mount Union College.

Land is also the Head Coach of the Fort Wayne Freedom of the Continental Indoor Football League.

In his third year at the helm of the Thunder program, Land led Trine to a 10-0 regular-season and the university's first ever NCAA playoff berth. In its first three years of Division III football, the Thunder managed a 2-28 record. In his tenure at Trine, Land is 18-13.

Land was also Summit Athletic Conference Coach of the Year at Fort Wayne South Side High School in the fall of 2005. He was also named United Indoor Football Coach of the Year in the summer of 2005 leading the Fort Wayne Freedom to a 14-2 record regular season record.

Other winners include, first time winners Brady Hoke of Ball State and Henry Frazier of Prairie View A&M and seven-time winner Mel Tjeerdsma of Northwest Missouri State highlight today's announcement of the American Football Coaches Association's 2008 Regional Coach of the Year winners.

The AFCA recognizes five regional Coach of the Year winners in each of the Association's five divisions: Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA.

The winners are selected by Active members of the Association who vote for coaches in their respective regions and divisions.

The Winners: Ball State's Brady Hoke is the Football Bowl Subdivision Region 3 winner this year. Hoke led the Cardinals to a 12-1 record, the MAC Western Division title and a berth in the MAC championship game this season.

Prairie View's Henry Frazier is the Football Championship Subdivision Region 3 winner this year. Frazier led the Panthers to a 9-1 record this season. The nine wins are the most for the program since 1964.

Northwest Missouri State's Mel Tjeerdsma earned his seventh Regional Coach of the Year award, this time in Division II Region 3. Tjeerdsma has led the Bearcats to a 13-1 record, the MIAA title and a berth in the NCAA Division II championship game this season.

Joining Hoke as winners in Football Bowl Subdivision are Cincinnati's Brian Kelly (Region 1), Mississippi's Houston Nutt (Region 2), Texas Tech's Mike Leach (Region 4) and Oregon State's Mike Riley (Region 5).

Joining Frazier in the Football Championship Subdivision are Villanova's Andy Talley (Region 1); Appalachian State's Jerry Moore (Region 2); Southern Illinois' Dale Lennon (Region 4) and Central Arkansas' Clint Conque (Region 5).

Joining Tjeerdsma as winners in Division II are California's (Pa.) John Luckhardt and Bloomsburg's Danny Hale (Region 1-tie), Tusculum's Frankie DeBusk (Region 2); Abilene Christian's Chris Thomsen (Region 4) and Wayne State's (Neb.) Dan McLaughlin (Region 5).

In Division III, the winners are Ithaca's Mike Welch (Region 1); Case Western's Greg Debeljak (Region 2); Hardin-Simmons' Jimmie Keeling (Region 3) Mount Union's Larry Kehres and Trine's Matt Land (Region 4-tie), and Willamette's Mark Speckman (Region 5).

In NAIA, the winners are Cumberlands' (Ky.) John Bland and Shorter's Phil Jones (Region 1-tie); St. Francis' (Ind.) Kevin Donley (Region 2); MidAmerica Nazarene's Jed Stugart (Region 3); Dickinson State's Hank Biesiot (Region 4) and Carroll's (Mont.) Mike Van Diest (Region 5).

The 2008 Regional Coach of the Year winners will be recognized at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner at the 2009 AFCA Convention in Nashville, Tenn. The dinner is scheduled for January 13.

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