Rankl earns regional honors as top coach
Alfred University head football coach Bob Rankl has been named the top coach in his region, the American Football Coaches Association has announced.
The AFCA released its list top regional coaches today (Dec. 6) and Rankl was named Coach of the Year for Division III, Region 1. The AFCA honors coaches from just five regions nationwide in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and NAIA.
As a Regional Coach of the Year pick, Rankl becomes one of five finalists for AFCA Division III National Coach of the Year, which will be announced on Jan. 10.
Rankl, in his third season as head coach at AU, guided the Saxons to a 12-1 record and the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III national championship tournament. The 12 wins represent a new school single-season record, eclipsing the 10 victories posted by the 1981 and 2010 teams. Alfred's advance to the national quarterfinals in this year's NCAA tournament matches that of the 2010 squad.
On Tuesday, Rankl was named D3football.com East Region Coach of the Year and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) North Coach of the Year.
AU finished the regular season ranked 14th and 15th, respectively, in the D3football.com and AFCA national polls and held the top spot in the NCAA Division III East Region rankings. The 2016 Saxons won the Empire 8 Conference title with a perfect 8-0 league record and became the first team in the 15-year history of the conference to go through a regular season unbeaten. The Saxons won two NCAA playoff games (at home against Bridgewater State and Western New England) before falling at home on Saturday to Mount Union in the quarterfinals.
Fifteen Saxons earned All-Conference recognition, with eight earning First Team honors, including the Offensive Player of the Year (senior quarterback Tyler Johnson) and Defensive Player of the Year (junior linebacker A.J. LiCata). AU also took home Coaching Staff of the Year honors from the Empire 8.
Rankl becomes the second AU coach to earn regional coaching honors from the AFCA. Hall of Fame head coach Sam Sanders earned College Division Region I honors in 1981 after leading the Saxons to a 10-0 regular season record and the program's first-ever berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs.
In three seasons as head coach at AU, Rankl has guided the Saxons to a 25-9 record. The 25 wins rank fifth all-time at Alfred University, behind Alex Yunevich (177 from 1937-41 and 1946-76), Dave Murray (108, 1998-13), Jim Moretti (70, 1985-97) and Sanders (49, 1977-84).
Prior to being appointed head coach at AU before the 2014 season, Rankl served as an assistant coach from 1999-2013.
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