Willie Simmons named AFCA FCS Region 3 Coach of the Year

title image via FAMU Athletics

Courtesy of Florida A&M Athletics

 Florida A&M football’s head coach, Willie Simmons, has led the Rattlers to their best season since 1998, winning 11 games, a conference championship, and its first Celebration Bowl appearance next week. Simmons and the Rattlers’ success has led to Simmons being named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) FCS Region 3 Coach of the Year for the second straight season.
Under Simmons’ leadership this season, the Rattlers finished the regular season with their highest national ranking and first 11-win season since 1998. Also, the Rattlers possess one of the best defenses in the nation, currently ranking in the top 25 in 12 categories. 
Defensive Rankings
• 24th – turnovers gained
• 12th – passing yards allowed
• 11th – passes intercepted
• 10th – red zone defense
• 6th – rushing defense
• 6th – sacks
• 4th – defensive touchdowns
• 2nd – pass efficiency defense
• 2nd – scoring defense
• 2nd – 3rd down defense
• 2nd – total defense
• 1st – tackles for loss
The Rattlers also ranked top-30 in other statistical categories, including first down defense (29th), kick return defense (27th), time of possession (24th), first down offense (22nd), passing yards per completion (21st), sacks allowed (18th), and punt returns (17th).
The Rattlers continued to make history this season after going 8-0 in the SWAC and winning their first SWAC Championship, defeating Prairie View A&M 35-14. Since joining the SWAC, they have possessed the best regular season conference record with a 22-2 record in three seasons. The Rattlers also possess the nation’s longest home game winning streak (20 games), the second-longest winning streak (10 games), and conference game winning streak (16 games).
2023 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year Winners
Football Bowl Subdivision
Region 1: Mike Norvell, Florida State University
Region 2: Eliah Drinkwitz, University of Missouri
Region 3: David Braun, Northwestern University
Region 4: Jerry Kill, New Mexico State University
Region 5: Kalen DeBoer, University of Washington
Football Championship Subdivision
Region 1: Greg Gattuso, University at Albany
Region 2: Clay Hendrix, Furman University
Region 3: *Willie Simmons, Florida A&M University
Region 4: Todd Stepsis, Drake University
Region 5: Bobby Hauck, University of Montana
Division II 
Region 1: Jim Clements, Kutztown University 
Region 2: *Chennis Berry, Benedict College
Region 3: Josh Lamberson, University of Central Missouri
Region 4: Paul Simmons, Harding University
Region 5: Pete Sterbick, Colorado School of Mines
Division III
Region 1: Curt Fitzpatrick, SUNY Cortland
Region 2: Greg Chimera, Johns Hopkins University
Region 3: Jerheme Urban, Trinity (Tex.) University
Region 4: *Jason Couch, Alma College
Region 5: Chris Winter, Wartburg College
Region 1: Doug Socha, Keiser University
Region 2: Mike Feminis, Saint Xavier University
Region 3: Chuck Hepola, Evangel University
Region 4: *Matt McCarty, Northwestern College
Region 5: Drew Maddox, Louisiana Christian University
*-2022 winner

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