Football’s stellar season garners national attention in award nominations

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Luke Falk runs out of the tunnel prior to the game against Stanford in Martin Stadium, Oct. 31, 2015.

From staff reports

The Cougars’ 8-4 regular season record and return to the national top 25 ranking vaulted Head Coach Mike Leach, Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch and redshirt sophomore quarterback Luke Falk into contention for national awards.

Leach is a semifinalist for the George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year Award. The award is given to a coach that emphasizes devotion and commitment in ethics to the athletics and education of the student-athletes as Munger did.

The team stumbled out of the gate, but it reached an 8-4 record in the regular season under Leach’s command. The Cougars are also bowl eligible with the help of Grinch.

Grinch also coaches the secondary. The strides the defense has made this season prompted Leach to nominate Grinch to be named among “some of the most dedicated, hardest working people in America,” as the Broyles Award attests to do for college assistant coaches.

Grinch is competing against defense coordinators Brent Venables from Clemson University and Kirby Smart from Alabama. He will also have to battle Oklahoma and Iowa’s offensive coordinators Lincoln Riley and Greg Davis, respectively, for this honor.

The quarterback captaining the Cougars is also up for the Burlsworth Trophy, given to a walk-on athlete who has achieved successes not expected of them. Falk is a prime example of this since he has been named three times as the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week. He also leads the country in total passing yards and is the fastest player in Washington State history to reach 4,000 passing yards.

Reporting by Casie Moe