For the second time in three years and the third time overall, Ashland University head football coach Lee Owens is the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) NCAA Division II Region 3 Coach of the Year.
As announced by the AFCA on Tuesday (Dec. 5) morning, Owens garnered the award by leading the Eagles to an 11-2 record, an outright Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship and a spot in the Division II postseason. Ashland's 11-game winning streak tied for the longest in school history in a single season, and included in that stretch were home victories against ranked opponents Ferris State on Sept. 23, Grand Valley State on Nov. 4 and Northwest Missouri State on Nov. 18.
Earlier this season, Owens was named GLIAC Coach of the Year for the fourth time.
The AFCA will announce the 2017 National Coaches of the Year winners in FBS, FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA at the American Football Coaches Awards, presented by Amway, broadcast live on the USA TODAY Sports Facebook page, on Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. The regional winners in each division are finalists for the National Coach of the Year.
2017 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year Winners
Football Bowl Subdivision
Region 1: Scott Frost, University of Central Florida
Region 2: Kirby Smart, University of Georgia
Region 3: Paul Chryst, University of Wisconsin
Region 4: Matt Campbell, Iowa State University
Region 5: Jeff Tedford, California State University, Fresno
Football Championship Subdivision
Region 1: Al Bagnoli, Columbia University
Region 2: Brian Bohannon, Kennesaw State University & Mike London, Howard University (tie)
Region 3: John Grass, Jacksonville State University*
Region 4: Dave Cecchini, Valparaiso University
Region 5: Demario Warren, Southern Utah University
Region 1: Mark Maciejewski, Shippensburg University
Region 2: Pete Shinnick, University of West Florida
Region 3: Lee Owens, Ashland University
Region 4: Bill Maskill, Midwestern State University
Region 5: Tom Sawyer, Winona State University
Region 1: Jason Mangone, The College at Brockport
Region 2: Mike Sirianni, Washington & Jefferson College
Region 3: Tony Kunczewski, Berry College
Region 4: Troy Abbs, Trine University
Region 5: Rick Willis, Wartburg College
Region 1: Chris Oliver, Lindsey Wilson College*
Region 2: Kevin Donley, University of Saint Francis (Ind.)*
Region 3: Larry Wilcox, Benedictine College (Kan.)
Region 4: Steve Ryan, Morningside College* & Matt McCarty, Northwestern College (Iowa) (tie)
Region 5: Charlie Hall, Southern Oregon University
* - denotes 2016 winner