The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) has named UW-Oshkosh head football coach Pat Cerroni the 2012 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Region 5 Coach of the Year.
Cerroni, who's guided the Titans to a 13-0 record and a berth in the semifinal round of the NCAA Division III Championship, is in his sixth season leading UW-Oshkosh. The Titans defeated four nationally ranked teams this year and won the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) title for the first time since 1976. Fifth-ranked UW-Oshkosh has won 15 consecutive contests for the longest active streak in NCAA football.
UW-Oshkosh placed 10 men on the 2012 All-WIAC First Team, including Player of the Year Nate Wara (Sr. • Oshkosh). Wara is also a finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy, which is presented annually to the top all-around football player in the NCAA Division III.
Statistically, UW-Oshkosh ranks 11th in the nation in total offense and turnover margin, 16th in rush offense, scoring offense and scoring defense and 19th in rush defense.
Cerroni's overall coaching record of 39-23 includes 7-3 marks in 2011 and 2007. The Titans totaled 12 victories from 2008-10 and topped that figure with 13 wins this season. Cerroni, the 2012 WIAC Coach of the Year, was a defensive assistant for the Titans from 2000-2006.
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force (1984-88), Cerroni earned his bachelor's degree from Carroll University in 1992. He received his master's degree from UW-Oshkosh in 2004. Cerroni and his wife, Tammy, are the parents of a daughter, Kali, and son, Kyle.
The AFCA recognizes five regional Coach of the Year winners in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Active members of the organization chose the winners.
The other NCAA Division III regional winners were Mike Cragg of Hobart College (N.Y.), Pete Fredenburg of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas), Larry Kehres of the University of Mount Union (Ohio) and Tom Watts of Ohio Wesleyan University. Region and National Coach of the Year winners will be honored at next month's AFCA convention in Nashville, Tenn.
UW-Oshkosh continues its season at fourth-ranked University of St. Thomas on Saturday (Dec. 8) in St. Paul, Minn. The victor advances to play top-ranked University of Mount Union or second-ranked University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in the national championship game (Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl) on Dec. 14 in Salem, Va.