Shawn Elliott Named Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week
Elliott recognized for upset win on the road over Tennessee, as well as his impact on the Georgia State program
ATLANTA (Sept. 3, 2019). – The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation, in conjunction with the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, announced today that Georgia State head football coach Shawn Elliott has been selected as the Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week.
The Dodd Coach of the Week Award honors the football coach whose program embodies the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, while also having success on the playing field during the previous week.
Elliott and the Georgia State Panthers traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee for an opening week matchup against one of the SEC’s most storied programs in the Tennessee Volunteers. The Panthers entered the game as 25-point underdogs, but shocked the college football world by pulling off the upset thanks to two late fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Georgia State outrushed the Volunteers 213-93, including a 22-yard touchdown run from senior quarterback Dan Ellington with 4:45 to play that sealed the win on the way to Georgia State’s first-ever victory over an SEC or Power 5 opponent, 38-30.
“Whenever you get an upset of this caliber, especially on the opening weekend, a lot of eyes will turn toward your program,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “Georgia State is only entering its tenth season of existence and travels to an SEC opponent in its home venue and wins. It’s a remarkable story, and clearly shows the progress that coach Elliott has made within the program.”
Since Elliott took over the program, the Panthers have reached new heights both on and off the field. Georgia State won the program’s first bowl game in school history under Elliott in December 2017, defeating Western Kentucky in the AutoNation Cure Bowl. Elliott has also coached 16 All-Sun Belt Conference honorees, as well as GSU’s first Academic All-American and four Academic All-District selections. In his first semester as coach, the team achieved a program-record 3.03 GPA.
Elliott’s commitment to excellence in the classroom has transformed the culture at Georgia State, and the effects are shown in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR), released yearly as a quantifier of team success in the classroom and graduation. Before Elliott began at Georgia State, the football program’s APR averaged around 940. In his first two years at the helm, the APR has increased to 951, and then 961 respectively. Both numbers are the highest in program history.
“Georgia State is trending upward, both on and off the field. Coach Elliott has done an outstanding job of instilling a standard of excellence on the field and in the classroom that has brought such a young program to new heights,” said Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO and President Gary Stokan. “It is going to be very exciting to see how far he can take the program in the future.”
Elliott began his tenure as Georgia State head coach in December 2016. He came to Atlanta by way of South Carolina, where he was an assistant since 2010. In 2015, he served as the interim head coach of the Gamecocks for six games. He is no stranger to the massive upset, as he was on the sideline for Appalachian State in 2007 when they famously defeated No. 5 Michigan in the season opener. He was an assistant at his alma mater of Appalachian State from 1997-2009.
The Dodd Trophy presented by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – along with the Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week Award – celebrates the head coach of a FBS team who enjoys success on the gridiron, while also stressing the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity.
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 2019 season. The winner of the 2019 Dodd Trophy will be announced in Atlanta during bowl week for this year’s College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.