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Sportexe Coach of the Year Winners Send Players to NFL

Houston’s Art Briles and Coastal Carolina’s David Bennett Coach Talent to Next Level

Round Rock, TX, May 05, 2007 --( Two of the 2006 Sportexe Football Coach of the Year winners continued to earn their stripes this weekend as they each had a quarterback selected in the 2007 NFL Draft. A global leader in the synthetic turf industry, Sportexe names coach of the year winners at every major amateur and professional level throughout the North America and Europe.

The Sportexe NCAA Division I-A winner Art Briles, head coach at the University of Houston, sent record-setting signal caller Kevin Kolb to the Philadelphia Eagles as the fourth pick in the second round (36th overall). The four-year starter set a school record by starting all 50 games he played in.

Kolb, who has set virtually every school and conference passing record, was named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year, a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalist and Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award semifinalist. He ranked fifth in the nation in passing efficiency (162.72), eighth in total offense (283.07 ypg) and sixth in passing yardage (3,809). Kolb connected on 292 of 432 passes (67.6 percent) with 30 touchdowns and four interceptions.

“We are pleased for Kevin as his selection in the NFL Draft is a great individual honor,” said Briles. “At the same time his move to professional football showcases the quality of the University of Houston football team and direction of our program.”

The entire Texas community has taken notice of Briles’ commitment to the Cougars football program. On April 25, the Texas State House of Representatives and Senate honored Briles for leading Houston to the C-USA championship and earning two coaching awards.

"I am very proud to be recognized for being the C-USA Coach of the Year and Sportexe National Coach of the Year," Briles said. "But I am more prideful of the recognition those awards bring to the C-USA champion Houston Cougars.”

Eight other Cougars have signed free agent contracts to join Kolb in the NFL, including: Jackie Battle, RB, and Rodney Hannah, TE, Dallas Cowboys; Vincent Marshall, WR, Atlanta Falcons; Wade Koehl, LB, New Orleans Saints; Biren Ealy, WR, Tennessee Titans; Willie Gaston, CB, Baltimore Ravens; Marquay Love, DT, Miami Dolphins; Will Gulley, Arizona Cardinals.

Sportexe NCAA I-AA Coach of the Year recipient David Bennett, head coach at Coastal Carolina University, sent multiple-threat Tyler Thigpen to the Minnesota Vikings in the seventh pick in the seventh round (217th overall).

Thigpen was named the Big South Conference Offensive Player of the Year and finished seventh in the balloting for the Walter Payton Award. He ranked second in the Football Championship Subdivision with 329.3 ypg of total offense, while being fourth nationally with 274.7 passing yards per game after leading Coastal to its third consecutive Big South title and first-ever berth in the NCAA Division I Football Championships.

“Tyler is the epitome of our program,” said Bennett, who started the Chanticleers’ football program just four years ago. “Both he and our program have evolved into championship-caliber talent in such a short period of time. Tyler is blessed with all the tools to be successful at the next level and we look forward to following his professional career for many years to come.”

Thigpen, who finished his Coastal Carolina career 30-8 as its starter, set nine Conference season records in 2006 in total offense (3,952), total offense per game (329.3), passing yards (3,296), touchdown passes (29), passing yards per game (274.7), passing efficiency (167.42), 300-yard passing games (5), 300-total yard games (9) and rushing yards by a quarterback (656). He was named Player of the Week four times this season and became the first Big South quarterback to rush for more than 600 yards in a season, with his 656 ranking fourth overall in league rushing, while adding five touchdowns.

Coastal Carolina added another Chants’ player to the NFL with safety Quinton Teal signing a free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers.

“These are examples of what makes these two Sportexe Coach of the Year winners so deserving,” said national football-coaching insider and Sportexe spokesperson Aaron S. Lee. “To coach at programs that are not noted as national powers and still guide young men to the sport’s highest level is indeed a great coaching accomplishment.”

Other 2006 Sportexe Coach of the Year alumni include: Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints (NFL); Wally Buono, British Columbia Lions (CFL); Denis Piché, University of Ottawa (Canadian Interuniversity Sports); Bill O’Boyle, Chadron State (NCAA Division II); Frank Miriello, Washington & Lee (NCAA Division III); Dino Kaklis, Bethel College (NAIA); Brad Franchione, Blinn College (Junior College); Bill Redell, Westlake Village-Oaks Christian (High School); Todd Bernett, Vancouver College (Canadian High School).

“Clearly Coach Briles and Coach Bennett are perfect choices for the Sportexe Coach of the Year, as are all of our winners,” said Lee.

Sportexe, which also announces winners of its Arena Football League and NFL Europa awards later this year, is the official coach of the year award for arenafootball2 to be presented during ArenaCup8 to be held in Bossier City, La., on Aug. 25.

Sportexe can be found underfoot of many of the nation’s elite athletes from the NFL and NCAA, and is the exclusive turf provider for the Arena Football League, arenafootball2, Major Indoor Soccer League and the National Lacrosse League. Sportexe clients also include numerous high school and recreational fields across North America.

• Sportexe •
About Sportexe:
With offices in Ontario, Texas, and Georgia, Sportexe is dedicated to delivering top notch synthetic turf solutions to each and every client. As an acknowledged leader in the industry, the U.S Company prides itself on delivering products that feature the latest in innovation and superior engineering with an emphasis on research and development. Currently Sportexe is the exclusive or official turf system supplier for The Arena Football League, (AFL/AF2), National Lacrosse League (NLL), Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), U.S. Indoor Soccer Association, and the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA). Additionally, Sportexe partners with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA). Sportexe has also made tremendous progress in the international scene by securing relationships with both the International Hockey Fédération (FIH), and the Federation International de Football Association (FIFA).

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