St. Thomas head coach Glenn Caruso has been named the 2011 Division III National Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly.
The Palm Beach, Fla.,-based magazine honors six coaches nationally each season, from FBS, FCS, Division II, Division III, NAIA and junior colleges. Other 2011 recipients are Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State; Willie Fritz of Sam Houston State; John Wristen of Colorado State-Pueblo; Ted Karras, Jr. of Marian (Ind.); and Buddy Stephens of East Mississippi Community College.
"It's an honor for myself, our staff, athletes and the University of St Thomas to be recognized as the 2011 Division III National Coach of the Year," Coach Caruso said. "Our student-athletes have taken enormous pride in rebuilding St. Thomas football and elevating it onto a national stage. This season's 13 wins and trip to the national semifinals validated that our program is on the right path.
"American Football Monthly is considered the standard among football coaching publications and resources, setting the benchmark for others to follow. To be selected for an award of this magnitude by a media institution with AFM's reputation is a tremendous compliment to our fooball program."
The 2010 AFM Division III winner was Lance Leipold of UW-Whitewater.
Since his 2008 hiring at St. Thomas, Caruso has guided the best four-year turnaround among all 640 NCAA football programs. He took over a team that finished 2-8 in 2007 and has led St. Thomas to a 43-7 record: 7-3 in 2008, 11-2 in 2009, 12-1 in 2010 and 13-1 this year.
His 2010 and 2011 Tommies became the first team in MIAC history to compile back-to-back 10-0 regular seasons. UST football won its first consecutive conference titles since 1948-1949. This season, the Tommies were ranked as high as No. 3 in both Division III polls. Last month, Caruso’s peers voted him the MIAC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row.
Last year at age 36, Caruso became the youngest winner of the Liberty Mutual Division III National Coach of the Year Award, which was first presented in 2006. He's also one of five national finalists for that award again in 2011. For the second consecutive season, Coach Caruso won the Liberty Mutual fan balloting, which makes up 20 percent of the award consideration. The 2011 winners will be announced on Jan. 9 in New Orleans on the day of the BCS championship game.
This marks the eighth time in the last 11 seasons that a St. Thomas coach received national Coach of the Year honors. Caruso's two awards are the first for a Tommie football coach since Frank Deig was named National Small College Coach of the Year in 1956.
St. Thomas National Coach of the Year Recipients
1956: Frank Deig, Football (National Small College Coach of the Year)
1991: Ted Riverso, Women's Basketball
1992: Dave Orren, Volleyball (AVCA)
1995: Joe Sweeney, Women's Track and Field (USTFCCCA)
2001: Dennis Denning, Baseball (ABCA)
2004: John Tschida, Softball (NFCA)
2005: John Tschida, Softball (NFCA)
2005: Terry Skrypek, Men's Hockey (ACHA)
2009: Dennis Denning, Baseball (ABCA)
2010: Glenn Caruso, Football (Liberty Mutual)
2011: Steve Fritz, Men's Basketball (NABC, D3hoops.com)
2011: Glenn Caruso, Football (American Football Monthly)