After leading the Tulsa Golden Hurricane football team to the school's second Conference USA Championship in the last eight years, TU Head Coach Bill Blankenship was selected as the C-USA Coach of the Year.
In his second season, Blankenship led Tulsa to an overall 10-3 record, 7-1 C-USA mark, a C-USA West Division title, the league crown and an appearance in the 2012 Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31st in a rematch against season-opening opponent Iowa State.
Blankenship took the Hurricane to the schools' ninth 10-win season. In two years, Blankenship has managed an 18-8 coaching record and has posted a 14-2 mark in conference regular season games, going 7-1 both years. He is just the fourth coach in school history to win at least 18 games in his first two seasons. The others are Todd Graham (21, 2007-08), Francs Schmidt (18, 1919-20) and Henry Frnka (18, 1941-42)
"This is a great honor voted on by your peers, but it's an award for our tremendous coaching staff and outstanding players," said Blankenship. "I know of all the hard work and dedication that our players and coaches have put in over the past two seasons. I believe these players were determined from the end of last year that this season would be a championship year and that came to fruition because of their commitment and leadership of a great senior class.
"Our coaching staff works the same long as hours as I do, and they have all been so crucial in bringing a championship back to Tulsa and why I have been honored with this award."
Statistically, Tulsa ranked among Conference USA's top-3 for rushing (240.2 ypg), scoring (35.0 ppg) and total offense (460.8 ypg) this season, while leading the league in total defense (353.9 ypg) and rushing defense (121.2). The Hurricane also led C-USA in kickoff returns (27.4 ypg), fewest sacks allowed (0.69), most QB sacks (3.69), fewest opponent first downs (18.3), opponent 3rd down conversions (37.8) and red zone defense (66.7).
Blankenship was promoted as Tulsa's 28th head football coach on January 14, 2011 following four seasons as an assistant coach for the Golden Hurricane. Before that, Blankenship spent 23 years as an Oklahoma High School coach, where he compiled a 205-68 record and won three state championships as the head coach at Tulsa Union High School.