Air Force's Calhoun named a finalist for Joe Paterno Award

From left: Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenberger, Col. Jim Dutton and Navy Capt. Alan Poindexter talk with Air Force football head coach Troy Calhoun during a "NASA victory tour" visit to the Academy May 18, 2010. The three astronauts were part of the crew for the Space Shuttle Atlantis' STS-131 mission to the International Space Station in April. (U.S. Air Force photo/J. Rachel Spencer)

Air Force football head coach Troy Calhoun, right, meets with NASA astronauts during their tour of the Air Force Academy May 18, 2010. Calhoun was named a finalist for the inaugural Joseph Paterno Coach of the Year Award Dec. 6.

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Air Force football head coach Troy Calhoun was named one of four finalists for the inaugural Joseph V. Paterno Coach of the Year Award, announced by Maxwell Football Club president Ron Jaworski Dec. 6.

The other finalists are Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech, Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern and Chris Petersen of Boise State as finalists.

Calhoun brought the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy back to Air Force for the first time in eight years, beating both Army and Navy. Beamer has led Virginia Tech to 11 consecutive wins, an ACC championship and a spot in the Orange Bowl. Fitzgerald is taking Northwestern to a third straight bowl game, a first in school history. Petersen has won at least 10 games for the fifth straight year at Boise State. All four coaches have succeeded while maintaining a high standard in the classroom and making a positive imprint on the local community.

The award, the first of its kind, is designed to honor the spirit of Coach Paterno, whose longtime success on the field has been matched only by his impact away from it. Through a nomination process, each current head coach has been evaluated since the summer based on his school's performance on the field, in the classroom and within the community. For almost half a century, Coach Paterno has demanded all-around excellence from his student-athletes, as will an award that carries his name.

"In what's become a labor of love, our committee spent the past four months searching for those individuals succeeding by Coach Paterno's high standards," said Rich Cirminello, the Maxwell Football Club's director of college awards. "We're thrilled that any one of this year's finalists would be a worthy recipient of the honor."

The formal announcement of the award will be made Dec. 18. The presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club's Awards Dinner March 4, 2011, at the Harrah's Entertainment Complex in Atlantic City, N.J.