Former Cooper OC Gilbert Named 2013 FCS Coordinator of the Year

Published 01/21 2014 05:57PM

Updated 01/21 2014 06:05PM

Current Eastern Illinois offensive coordinator and former Abilene Cooper assistant Sterlin Gilbert was named 2013 FCS Coordinator of the Year by Tuesday.

It's incredibly difficult - if not impossible - for an offensive coordinator to have a better season than Gilbert did at Eastern Illinois in 2013. In FCS, no team gained more yards than Eastern Illinois, no team scored more points than Eastern Illinois, and no quarterback threw for more yards than Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Graoppolo.

Let's start with Garoppolo. The senior connected on 375-of-568 passes for 5,050 yards with 50 touchdowns against nine interceptions (a 168.33 pass efficiency rating) while adding 209 rushing yards and four scores. For his efforts, Garoppolo was named the Walter Payton Award winner as the top player in FCS.

As a unit, Eastern Illinois led FCS by averaging 589.5 yards of total offense per game, placed second nationally with 372.4 passing yards per game and ranked 20th in FCS with 217.1 rushing yards per game. Gilbert's unit was the only FCS offense to rank among the top five nationally in passing offense and the top 20 nationally in rushing offense.

The Panthers had five games in which they rushed for more than 200 yards and passed for more than 240 yards: 248 rushing yards and 491 passing yards against Illinois State, 283 rushing yards and 382 passing yards against Southeast Missouri State, 303 rushing yards and 299 passing yards versus Murray State, 203 rushing yards and 501 passing yards against UT-Martin and 313 rushing yards and 240 passing yards versus Tennessee State.

"Sterlin has developed a really special relationship with his quarterbacks in a very short amount of time," said his head coach, Dino Babers. "He has a unique ability to draw a great bond and a huge amount of loyalty between himself, his quarterbacks and the head coach even though I can be pretty hard on them at times."

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