Justin Fuente Named Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week

ATLANTA (October 20, 2015) – Officials from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl today announced that Memphis Head Football Coach Justin Fuente has been selected as The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week.

The award honors the football coach whose program embodies The Dodd Trophy’s three pillars: scholarship, leadership and integrity, while also enjoying success on the playing field during the previous week.

“It is a very exciting time for Memphis Football right now and Coach Fuente is a big reason for that,” said Jim Terry, Chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “With a victory this past weekend over a top-25 ranked SEC team, Memphis has established itself as a team to keep an eye on for the rest of the season. Coach Fuente took over as head coach in 2012 and built the program around four distinct pillars, which are very similar to The Dodd Trophy’s own pillars.”

When Coach Fuente took over in 2012, he wanted to change the culture of the program by building his teams’ around four pillars: academic integrity, social responsibility, individual accountability and competitive excellence. As a result, in 2014, Memphis Football recorded the highest grade point average in program history. Furthermore, senior linebacker Charles Harris was named to the Capital Once Academic All-District 3 NCAA Division I Football Team to highlight the program’s academic accomplishments.

One of the first initiatives Fuente implemented after being named head coach was the creation of a student-athlete leadership council. The group serves as a conduit between the coaching staff and the team in an attempt to form stronger relationships with one another. In the community, he shares his excitement and enthusiasm for Memphis Football by serving as a speaker for a variety of civic groups. In 2012, Fuente also conducted the school’s first Women’s Clinic in an effort to educate female fans as well as further build the program’s base.

On Saturday, Memphis took down No. 13 Ole Miss 37-24, securing one of the biggest wins in school history. It was the first win for the Tigers over a ranked opponent since 1996 and extended their winning streak to 13 games, which is the third-longest streak in the nation behind Ohio State and TCU. With the victory, Memphis entered this week’s AP Top-25 Poll at No. 18. Fuentes is in his fourth year at the helm and carries a record of 23-20. Prior to his arrival, the program had won just five games combined in three years. This year’s squad already is bowl-eligible with six wins.

The Dodd Trophy – along with the Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week Award – celebrates the head coach of a team who enjoys success on the gridiron, while also stressing the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity.

The 2015 Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week Honorees Include:

Week Coach School AP Ranking
(at time of win)
 
1 Pat Fitzgerald Northwestern No. 20 Read more
2 Mark Dantonio Michigan State No. 7 Read more
3 David Shaw Stanford No. 15 Read more
4 Jim Mora UCLA No. 18 Read more
5 Dabo Swinney Clemson No. 5 Read more
6 Kyle Whittingham Utah No. 4 Read more
7 Justin Fuente Memphis No. 18  

The winner of the 2015 Dodd Trophy will be announced in Atlanta during Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Week. 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 2015 season.

@DoddTrophy

ABOUT THE DODD TROPHY
The Dodd Trophy was established in 1976 to honor the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division 1A) head football coach whose program represents the highest ideals on and off the field. The award honors the coach of a team which enjoys a successful football season, while also stressing the importance of academic excellence and character, as did Coach Dodd’s teams during his 22 years as head football coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Coach Dodd remains one of college football’s legendary figures, both as a coach and a player. Coach Dodd was a native of Galax, Virginia, and played his college ball at the University of Tennessee where his team had 27 wins, one loss and two ties during the three years he played. Coach Dodd was selected to the National College Football Hall of Fame both as a coach and as a player. More information about The Dodd Trophy is available at TheDoddTrophy.com.

ABOUT THE CHICK-FIL-A PEACH BOWL
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is the ninth-oldest bowl game in the country and is one of New Year’s Six Bowls selected to host the College Football Playoff. In 2014 and 2015, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will host games of top nationally ranked teams as assigned by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. In 2016, the Bowl will host its first Playoff Semifinal (#1 vs. #4 or #2 vs. #3). The Bowl has sold out 18 of the last 20 years and has earned a reputation as one of the most competitive bowls in the country, with 55% of its games being decided by a touchdown or less. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl has disbursed more than $137 million in team payouts over its 47-year history and has increased team payout every year since 1996. The Bowl also leads all other bowl games in charitable and scholarship contributions, giving more than $17.5 million to organizations in need since 2002. More information about the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and its events is available at Chick-fil-APeachBowl.com. For news, updates and insider information, follow us on Twitter at @CFAPeachBowl or find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/ChickfilAPeachBowl