Memphis Tigers football coach Mike Norvell named The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week

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Memphis head coach Mike Norvell talks with an official in the first half of an NCAA college football game against SMU Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

(CHICK-FIL-A PEACH BOWL NEWS RELEASE) – Officials from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl today announced that Memphis head football coach Mike Norvell has been selected as The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week.

The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week award honors a football coach who led his team to a significant victory during the previous week, while also embodying the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity.

Considering The Dodd Trophy represents more than just a coach’s performance on the field, a coach in his first year, who has not had a full season to establish his own impact on Academic Progress Rate (APR) and the local community, is not eligible to win.

No. 24 Memphis welcomed No. 15 SMU to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in a matchup between two ranked American Athletic Conference rivals. In a high-scoring, back-and-forth affair, Memphis and its 514 yards of total offense defeated the Mustangs, 54-48. The win marked Memphis’ highest-ranked win since 2015, when the Tigers defeated No. 12 Ole Miss, and represented its sixth-straight victory over SMU.

In the latest AP poll, Memphis moved up to No. 19, the highest ranking for the program since the 2017 season and third highest in the program’s history.

“SMU’s run had been the talk of college football this year, and Memphis had been flying under the radar until this marquee win,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “Coach Norvell and his team should be on everyone’s radar now and have positioned themselves for a potential New Year’s Six bowl appearance. This was the kind of high-stakes challenge that Coach Dodd loved.”

Norvell is now in his fourth season as the Memphis head football coach after winning two American Athletic Conference West Division titles and setting countless school records in his first three seasons with the Tigers. He has already set school records for the most wins in the first four seasons as a head coach (34) and the most wins over a three-year stretch as head coach in program history (26). In 2018, the Memphis team set new school records for yards (7,324) and touchdowns (80), breaking records previously set by Norvell. His prolific offenses now account for three of the four best offenses in program history.

Norvell’s hire immediately invigorated the Memphis program and while the team continues to climb to new heights on the field, its performance in the classroom is just as impressive. The Tigers’ Academic Progress Rate (APR), a measure of academic performance by program year-over-year, stands at 976 out of 1000. Norvell takes pride in his players’ academic accomplishments and honors them for their work in the classroom with the Tiger Scholar patch. A total of 52 players who either posted a semester GPA of 3.0 or higher, or already graduated, were presented with the patch this spring.

Norvell coaches under his own three tenets of “Service, Sacrifice & Respect” and emphasizes his players’ involvement in the Memphis community. Every year, Memphis football players get involved in various events such as the annual “Hope to Dream” bed giveaway, where local children get to play on the field with Memphis players and are given new bed sets.

“Coach Norvell is one of the brightest young minds in the game and he brings passion to every phase of developing these young men,” said Gary Stokan, CEO and president of Peach Bowl, Inc. “Memphis should be proud of the man that it hired to lead its program. As the team continues to improve every year, expect Memphis to continue to make noise in the AAC and nationally.”

The Dodd Trophy presented by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – along with the Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week Award – celebrates the head coach of a FBS team who enjoys success on the gridiron, while also stressing the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity.

A panel consisting of all previous winners, national media, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member will identify the final list of potential recipients at the conclusion of the 2019 season. The winner of the 2019 Dodd Trophy will be announced in Atlanta during bowl week for this year’s College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

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