Morrell named regional Coach of the Year

WACO, Texas — Montana Tech football coach Chuck Morrell was named the Coach of the year of the northwest region.

The Football Coaches Association announced the selection today. Morrell is now a finalist for the national award.

In his second season at Montana Tech, Morrell guided the Orediggers to an 8-3 record and the school’s first playoff appearance in seven years. The Orediggers, who entered the season unranked after an 3-8 campaign in 2011, won eight straight games. That was the school’s longest winning streak since 1998.

The Orediggers, who shared the Frontier Conference crown with Southern Oregon, also beat Carroll College for the first time since 2004 and were ranked as high as No. 7, the school’s best ranking since 2006.

Eleven players from Montana Tech were selected to the All-Conference team, including seven first-team selections.

The other four coaches receiving the regional award are Bill Cronin of Georgetown College, Ted Karras Jr. of Marian University, Paul Troth of Missouri Valley College, and Steve Ryan of Morningside College. The coaches will be honored at the Coach of the Year dinner at the AFCA Convention in Nashville in January.