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WVU coaches Nehlen and Holgorsen up for coaching awards

The WVU football “head coach emeritus” will receive a lifetime achievement award and the current boss is nominated for coach of the year.

Don Nehlen
From 1980 to 2000, Don Nehlen headed the WVU football program, bringing it to heights the unseen and since unmatched.

West Virginia has two football coaches up for awards given by the American Football Coaches Association. Long-time head coach Don Nehlen will receive the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award and Dana Holgorsen is a nominee for the FBS National Coach of the Year. The American Football Coaches Awards will air tonight at 9 p.m. ET, on CBS Sports Network, live from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee.

Nehlen, who helmed the WVU football program from 1980 to 2000, took the Mountaineers two undefeated regular seasons (1988 and 1993). He is being presented with the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award, which is presented to the “individual, group or institution whose services have been outstanding in the advancement of the best interests of football” in memory of Amos Alonzo Stagg, the pioneering football coach.

While at WVU, Nehlen amassed a 149-93-4 record while seeing the program transition from an independent competitor to a Big East member. He retired in 2000 after a 7-5 season and a win in the Music City Bowl. Nehlen won the AFCA Coach of the Year award in 1988, when he was also named the Walter Camp and Bobby Dodd coach of the year winner.

The legend continues to be a fixture in Morgantown and Milan Puskar Stadium, aiding the football program and making public appearances on behalf of the athletic department.

“It’s a tremendous honor for me. When I got the envelope telling me that I was being awarded the Stagg Award, I had to check the name to make sure I wasn’t getting someone else’s mail,” said Nehlen. “I’m so proud of the American Football Coaches Association and I’m so proud of football coaches. I’m just honored to receive such an award, and not just for me, but for West Virginia University as well.”

Holgorsen is a finalist for the AFCA FBS National Coach of the Year by virtue of winning the Regional Coach of the Year for Region 4. He is joined by Ken Niumatalolo (U.S. Naval Academy), Nick Saban (Alabama), P.J. Fleck (Western Michigan) and Mike MacIntyre (Colorado). This will be the 56th time AFCA has bestowed this honor.

Though he was passed over for Big 12 Coach of the Year, WVU’s 10-win regular season is the best since Holgorsen arrived in Morgantown in 2011, which saw his team earn its 10th win in the Orange Bowl. In that year, Holgorsen was named the Football Writers Association of America Coach of the Year. He was recently given a contract extension through the 2021 season.

The awards presentation show is part of the 2017 AFCA Convention and will be hosted by Eddie George. You can find your CBS Sports Network station here: