Mac Big 12 Coach of the Year

<B>AMES, Iowa --</B> Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney has been named the 2004 Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year by a vote of the league's coaches, the conference announced Wednesday.

The Cyclone coach, in his 10th season at ISU, led his team to a share of the Big 12 North Division championship. It was the first share of any kind of conference title by the ISU football program since 1912. McCarney is the first Iowa State head football coach to receive coach-of-the-year honors from the conference's writers or coaches since Earle Bruce won the award in 1976 and 1977 in the Big Eight Conference.

Iowa State linebacker Tim Dobbins was voted the Big 12's Defensive Newcomer of the Year. Cyclone cornerback Ellis Hobbs was a first-team selection by the conference coaches. Cale Stubbe was a second-team selection in the offensive line and nose guard Nick Leaders was a second-team selection in the defensive line. Wide receiver Todd Blythe, defensive tackle Brent Curvey, Dobbins, tailback Stevie Hicks, defensive end Tyson Smith and center Luke Vander Sanden received honorable mention recognition.

"I'm truly humbled to receive this honor from my fellow coaches," McCarney said. "This has been a exciting season for our players, coaches and fans. The focus should be on our student-athletes and the honors they have received. We tied for the North Division title in the toughest league in college football. We are going to a bowl game after being picked for last place in our division before the season. The Cyclones were picked for sixth because there was no seventh. I can't be more excited about the whole program."

Picked for last in most Big 12 North pre-season polls, Iowa State was 2-10 last season and lost its first three conference games this fall to extend its Big 12 losing streak to 13 games, dating back to November, 2002. But a last-second win at Baylor was the first of four straight conference victories, including a come-from-behind 37-23 win at Kansas State, the Cyclones' first win in Manhattan since 1988. McCarney will take his team to its fourth bowl game in five seasons this month.

Iowa State's defense has allowed only 146.4 yards rushing per game. That figure is the best by Cyclone defenders since World War II. Dobbins, a junior from Nashville, Tenn. is a major factor in a ISU defense that ranks fourth in the Big 12, allowing 332.1 yards per game, the best mark since 1986. Dobbins has 59 tackles and two interceptions in 2004.

Hobbs, a co-captain from DeSoto, Texas, posted 67 tackles and four interceptions this fall. The senior, a leading special teams player, ranks eighth on the all-time ISU career interception list with eight picks. Stubbe, a co-captain, was part of an offensive line that improved dramatically as the season progressed. The senior from Cedar Falls has started the last 23 games for Iowa State at left offensive tackle. Leaders, a junior from Omaha, Neb., has 48 tackles, 10 for negative yardage. He has also blocked three kicks this season.

Blythe, a freshman All-American from Indianola, who ranks sixth on the all-time ISU single-season list with 791 yards on 36 catches, has caught a school record nine touchdown receptions this fall. Curvey, a sophomore from Houston, Texas has 49 tackles and made huge fumble returns for touchdowns in wins at Baylor and against Kansas. Hicks, a sophomore from Omaha, Neb., has topped the 100-yard rushing mark four times this season. Smith, a senior from Des Moines, who missed two games with an injured knee, has 49 tackles and a team-high five sacks. Vander Sanden, a senior co-captain from Inwood, Iowa, has started 10 of 11 games this season.

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