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Monday, January 9, 2012
Les Miles wins Liberty Mutual award

ESPN.com news services

NEW ORLEANS -- LSU coach Les Miles has won the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award for the Football Bowl Subdivision after leading his top-ranked Tigers to a perfect regular-season record and an SEC championship.

LSU plays No. 2 Alabama in the Allstate BCS Championship Game on Monday night.

The award is given to the coach who best exemplifies sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence on and off the field. Winners receive a $50,000 charitable donation from Liberty Mutual and a $20,000 scholarship award to their school's alumni association.

The other winners were Montana State's Rob Ash in the Football Championship Subdivision, Pittsburg State's Tim Beck in Division II and St. Thomas' Glenn Caruso in Division III.

"It's a tremendous award and could not have been achieved in any way without the efforts of many others," Miles said. "My football team works hard on the field and in the classroom, my coaching staff puts in long hours, and I represent a great institution at LSU."

Winners were chosen through a combination of fan voting and ballots cast by members of the College Football Hall of Fame, coaches and the media. Each coach received a $50,000 charitable donation from Liberty Mutual and a $20,000 scholarship award to their school's alumni association.

Auburn's Gene Chizik won the award last year shortly before his team won the national title.

"A long time ago when I played, we didn't get out in the community enough," said Archie Manning, who presented the awards as chairman of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. "Now there's these organized events where football players and teams get out in the community and get involved, and it's really special."

Ash led Montana State to a 10-3 record and its second straight playoff berth this season, along with supporting Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the United Way and other nonprofit organizations.

Beck helped Pittsburg State to a 13-1 record and its first national championship in 20 years in just his second season as coach. The longtime assistant is also involved in fundraising efforts for aplastic anemia and a local program called "Angels Among Us."

Caruso became the first two-time winner of the award after taking St. Thomas to the Division III semifinals. He's also the founder of "Bucky's Pride," which supports families of children fighting cancer and blood diseases, and a program to raise funds for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

"As I get older, I realize the community and environment that one lives in has such a huge effect on how one does his job, and I'm certainly no exception to that," he said. "It's always been about the kids, and the opportunity to add value to their lives in some shape or form."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.