Scott Frost is The Associated Press college football coach of the year after leading Central Florida to an unbeaten season and a spot in the Peach Bowl.
Frost already has accepted the Nebraska head coaching job but plans to complete the season with UCF and coach the No. 10-ranked Knights against No. 7 Auburn.
Frost received 21 first-place votes and 100 points from 57 Top 25 poll voters who submitted ballots. Kirby Smart of Georgia finished second with seven first-place votes and 55 points. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney finished third with seven firsts and 38 points.
Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley (four, 36) was fourth, and Miami’s Mark Richt (five, 28) was fifth. UAB’s Bill Clark (six), Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst (three), Iowa State’s Matt Campbell (two), Fresno State’s Jeff Tedford (one) and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn (one) also received first-place votes.
Frost took over at UCF two years ago with the Knights coming off an 0-12 season. He got them to a bowl game last season, when they wound up 6-7. This season, the Knights exceeded all expectations. UCF won the American Athletic Conference and were the highest-scoring team in the country at 49 points per game.
“I was very fortunate to work with a special group at UCF for the last two years,” Frost said in a statement to the AP. “I’ve told them a number of times that what they accomplished this season was nothing short of impossible. Any honor or award I receive based on what we accomplished as a team is a credit to those student-athletes. I’m very proud to have been a part of this magical season.”
The 42-year-old Frost took the job as Nebraska coach right after the AAC title game, returning to his alma mater and home-state school. Frost was offensive coordinator at Oregon before taking the UCF job. The former Nebraska quarterback is taking over a team that went 4-8 this season under Mike Riley.
The AP coach of the year was started in 1998. Frost is the first coach from UCF to win the award and the second coach from outside a Power Five or BCS automatic- qualifying conference to win. The first was Gary Patterson of TCU in 2009, when the Horned Frogs were members of the Mountain West Conference.