JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Voting is open for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year and Eagle fans can vote for Carson-Newman head football coach Ken Sparks at the following link.
Christian principles have been the driving force behind Sparks' coaching career. It was his faith that brought him to Carson-Newman in 1980 and it is his faith that will see him through this latest challenge.
In 2012 Sparks made history, becoming only the 11th man in college football to record 300 wins. The coach is reluctant to shine the spotlight on himself and his accomplishments. Sparks would instead rather be measured by his impact in the lives of the young men and coaches who've been a part of his Carson-Newman family.
For Coach Sparks, football is a laboratory of learning where he and his staff strive to develop the whole person – educationally, socially, athletically and spiritually. Along the way, Sparks has developed one of the winningest football programs in the history of the sport. The Eagles have won five NAIA National Titles and played for it six times. A move to NCAA Division II didn't slow Sparks' Carson-Newman squad down. The Eagles played for the D-II National Title three times and were a semifinalist in 2009.
Sparks sits at 311 wins for his career - three away from seventh on the all-time wins list among all divisions. Win 314 would tie Sparks with Eastern Kentucky's Roy Kidd and Amos Alonzo Stagg of Chicago. Sparks needs eight wins to catch Pop Warner and 12 to match famed Alabama coach Bear Bryant.
The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award recognizes college football coaches who demonstrate Responsibility, Integrity, Sportsmanship and Excellence both on and off the field. Endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame and now in its eighth year, the program awards one winning coach from each NCAA division (I-FBS, I-FCS, II, and III) with $50,000 to donate to a charity of their choice, a $20,000 grant to each school's alumni association, and the Coach of the Year trophy.
Fan voting will decide the top 15 coaches from each division that are eligible to become finalists. The organization will then select a winner based on that pool.