SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – December 2, 2006 – Springfield College Head Football Coach Mike DeLong has been named the 2006 New England Coach of the Year in Division II/III by the New England Football Writers Association.
It is the second time DeLong has earned this award. He also won it in 2000. Bestowed since the 1950’s, this award has gone to only one Springfield College head football coach, Mike DeLong.
DeLong will receive this award at the New England Captains and Awards Banquet on the evening of December 14 at the Casa Di Fior Restaurant in Wilmington, Massachusetts.
Also that night, Springfield College junior quarterback Chris Sharpe (Derry, N.H.) will receive the 33rd Annual Division II/III Gold Helmet Award for the 2006 season.
Springfield College had an excellent season, finishing 10-2 overall, and 5-1 in the Empire 8 Conference, considered the top Division III conference in the East.
Springfield was Empire 8 Conference co-champion, and earned the automatic NCAA Post-Season Tournament berth by defeating St. John Fisher (55-38) in its head-to-head regular season match-up (both teams finished 5-1). In the post-season, Springfield easily defeated NEFC Champion Curry College, 42-14 (it was 42-0 early in the fourth quarter) in NCAA Division III first-round action. Then SC lost in its rematch with St. John Fisher (27-21) on Saturday, Nov. 25 in second-round action.
Springfield College was ranked #1 in New England in eight of the nine polls, including the Final Poll, this season, according to the New England Division III Football Coaches. SC was ranked as high as #11 nationally in one poll, and was consistently the highest-ranked New England Division III team nationally throughout the season.
DeLong led SC to one of the best turnarounds in the nation this season. Last year, SC finished 4-6 overall. This year’s 10-2 mark translated into an outstanding +5.0 games turnaround.
DeLong had already earned one major coaching award this season. He was named the Empire 8 Coach of the Year, earning that award for the first time. He won that award unanimously.
With his 10 more wins this season, DeLong did nothing to lose a particular status he enjoyed entering the season. Mike remains the “winningest active Division III coach in New England”. His overall 25-year record (including two at Maine Maritime) is: 146-102-2, good for a .588 winning percentage. His 23-year record at Springfield College is now: 134-96-2, good for a .582 winning percentage.
Springfield also earned its 500th victory as a college during this past season, doing so as it clinched the Empire 8 co-title and automatic NCAA tourney berth when it defeated Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, 35-0, to close out the regular season on Nov. 11. DeLong was the recipient of a Gatorade bath in the game’s final minute.
The NCAA tourney berth was Springfield’s 5th, all under DeLong, all since 1998. Springfield had also earned NCAA post-season tourney berths in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2003. Springfield this season won its sixth national Division III title in Rushing Offense, doing so with an average of 374.7 yards per game on the ground. Final stats have yet to be released as of this writing, but SC is leading the 2nd-place team in that category by more than 80 yards per game entering today’s NCAA Division III quarterfinal games.
DeLong also had the opportunity to coach the starring Chris Sharpe during this past season. Sharpe was ranked number one in the nation in Division III in rushing (161.8 yards per game), scoring (17.7 points per game), rushing yards (1,941), and TD’s (35) pretty much all year long.