CaptainU, the largest youth and college sports network, named UW-Oshkosh's Pat Cerroni as its 2012 NCAA Division III Coach of the Year.
Cerroni guided the Titans to their finest season in the program's 118-year history. The school record was eight wins, but UW-Oshkosh went 13-1 en route to a third-place finish in the NCAA Division III Championship. UW-Oshkosh also won the WIAC title for the first time in 36 years.
After defeating four nationally ranked squads, Cerroni received Coach of the Year awards for the WIAC, D3football.com's West Region and the American Football Coaches Association's Region 5. Seven Titans were named to the D3football.com All-America Team, and quarterback Nate Wara was a finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy.
UW-Oshkosh was unranked after week three, but ran its winning streak to 15 games before falling 28-14 to the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) in the national semifinal.
The Titans recorded many milestones this season, including their first victory at UW-La Crosse in 45 years. UW-Oshkosh also snapped UW-Whitewater's 27-game WIAC winning streak with a 28-13 triumph.
In six seasons as head coach, Cerroni has led UW-Oshkosh to a 39-24 record. He helped the Titans to 7-3 records in both 2007 and 2011. Cerroni served as UW-Oshkosh's defensive coordinator from 2000-06.
Cerroni and his team have performed several community service projects over the last six years, including events with the Oshkosh Boys & Girls Club, Oshkosh YMCA, Habitat for Humanity, Old Glory Honor Flight and Feeding America.
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force (1984-88), Cerroni earned his bachelor's degree from Carroll University in 1992 and his master's from UW-Oshkosh in 2004.
The other CaptainU Football Coaches of the Year were Notre Dame's Brian Kelly for Division I-FBS, Old Dominion's Bobby Wilder for Division I-FCS and Colorado State-Pueblo's John Wristen for Division II.
"The CaptainU College Coach of the Year awards recognize the top college coaches across the country for their exceptional leadership and accomplishments," said Avi Stopper, CEO of CaptainU. "It's inspiring to see the results they achieve – not just in the numbers they put up on the scoreboard, but in their devotion to helping students develop as athletes and human beings."
CaptainU is a team of former college athletes and coaches who believe, "There has to be a better way." Drawing on their experiences with student-athlete development and recruiting, they designed the CaptainU Process and cutting-edge web technology to walk athletes through the process from youth sports through college. CaptainU is about putting the power in athletes' hands and making sports positive and rewarding.
Written by Jon Feyen, UW-Oshkosh Sports Information