UAlbany's Gattuso Named AFCA FCS Coach of the Year

UAlbany's Gattuso Named AFCA FCS Coach of the Year

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NASHVILLE – UAlbany football Head Coach Greg Gattuso has been announced as the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FCS Coach of the Year, the organization announced on Wednesday. Gattuso was named the AFCA FCS Region 1 Coach of the Year back in December, automatically nominating him for the national honor.
 
"It's truly an honor to receive this award knowing that it was voted upon by my peers in college football," said Gattuso. "This showcases the hard work and dedication from both the staff and the student-athletes - it's a team award. They are the ones who made this season what it was, I cannot thank them enough."
 
Gattuso added "I'd also like to thank my family for their unwavering support year in and year out. This job requires much focus and many long days and nights. Without their backing, none of this would be possible."
 
The winners are selected by a vote of the active AFCA members at four-year schools in the Association's five divisions. The AFCA has named a Coach of the Year since 1935. The AFCA Coach of the Year award is the oldest and most prestigious of all the Coach of the Year awards and is the only one chosen exclusively by coaches. Other regional FCS winners who were in contention for the award included Clay Hendrix (Furman, Region 2), Willie Simmons (Florida A&M, Region 3), Todd Stepsis (Drake, Region 4), and Bobby Hauck (Montana, Region 5).
 
The 2023 UAlbany football season was the best in program history. The Great Danes finished with an 11-4 overall record, going 7-1 in CAA action. Under Gattuso and his staff, the team claimed its first ever conference title, sharing it with Villanova and Richmond. The Great Danes defeated Villanova midway through the season, 31-10 at home, and took down Richmond in the second round of the FCS Playoffs, 41-13 at home.
 
UAlbany was awarded the NCAA's #5 seed in the playoffs, the highest the team has ever been ranked, while also receiving a First Round bye. The team's Second Round win over Richmond cemented the furthest the Great Danes had ever reached in the postseason, previously having gotten to the Second Round in 2019. In the Quarterfinals, UAlbany flew across the country to #4 Idaho – taking down the Vandals, 30-22, in the Kibbie Dome to advance to the Semifinals before falling to South Dakota State, the top seed and eventual National Champions.
 
Multiple players had carer seasons under Gattuso's guidance. On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Dylan Kelly tallied an FCS-high 159 tackles, shattering the UAlbany single season record. He finished as runner up for the 2023 Buck Buchanan Award, given to the top defensive player in all the FCS. Up front, UAlbany led the nation in team sacks – led by defensive ends Anton Juncaj (15.0) and AJ Simon (12.5). Juncaj finished as the nation's leader in sacks, and fifth in the Buck Buchanan Award voting. UAlbany was the only school to have multiple players finish in the top 30 for the Buchanan Award. In the secondary, corner Aamir Hall finished third in the nation with 15 PBUs.
 
On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Reese Poffenbarger led the country with 36 passing TDs - seven more than second place. His favorite targets were wideouts Brevin Easton and Julian Hicks. Easton finished third in the FCS with 13 TD receptions, pacing the CAA. Hicks finished with 11 TD receptions, tied for fourth in the nation and tied for second in the CAA.
 
In addition to being named the AFCA FCS Coach of the Year this season, Gattuso has also been named the CAA Coach of the Year, FCS Football Central Coach of the Year, ECAC Coach of the Year, and was the runner up for the Eddie Robinson Award.
 
For more information about the AFCA, visit www.AFCA.com.