Bobby for Bobby: ODU’s Wilder earns Bobby Dodd national coaching honor

Head coach Bobby Wilder of the Old Dominion Monarchs celebrates. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

ATLANTA, Ga. (Peach Bowl, Inc.) – Officials from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl announced that Old Dominion Head Football Coach Bobby Wilder has been selected as The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week.

The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week award honors the football coach whose program embodies the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, while also having success on the playing field during the previous week.

Coach Wilder and the Monarchs secured their first win of the season after scoring 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to defeat No. 13 Virginia Tech 49-35 in Norfolk. The victory marked the first time a Conference USA team knocked off a ranked opponent since Houston defeated No. 22 Penn State in 2012.

“Bobby Wilder defied the odds this week with his win against Virginia Tech,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “This was a historic victory for his program.  The only way things like this happen is for a team to have the right kind of leadership at the top.”

Bobby Wilder grew the Old Dominion football program from an FCS start-up to an FBS program in just six years. During his tenure as head coach at Old Dominion, Wilder has led the Monarchs to a 73-40 record in nine seasons, including two FCS playoff appearances and the program’s first-ever bowl game. Wilder is currently the 11th longest tenured head coach in the country and the second longest tenured coach in Conference USA.

ODU head football coach Bobby Wilder

“When you build a program from the ground up, like Coach Wilder has, there’s a chance to create a culture that does things the right way,” said Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO & President Gray Stokan. “Much like Coach Dodd, he has created that culture, and really invests in his players and the Norfolk community.”

In addition to his efforts on the field, Wilder has ensured the Old Dominion football program is active in the local Norfolk community. The Monarchs host an annual bone marrow registry drive that has helped register more than 1,000 members of the ODU student body, faculty and the Hampton Roads community. The Monarchs also actively volunteer with the Special Olympics, host youth clinics and participate in reading and career days at many of the area’s elementary and middle schools.

Head coach Justin Fuente speaks to head coach Bobby Wilder. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

The Dodd Trophy presented by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – along with the Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week Award – celebrates the head coach of a FBS team who enjoys success on the gridiron, while also stressing the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity. Wilder joins Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Colorado State’s Mike Bobo and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy as 2018 weekly winners.

A panel consisting of all previous winners, national media, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member will identify the final list of potential recipients at the conclusion of the 2018 season. The winner of the 2018 Dodd Trophy will be announced in Atlanta during Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Week.

About the Dodd Trophy

The Dodd Trophy was established in 1976 to honor the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division 1A) head football coach whose program represents the highest ideals on and off the field. The award honors the coach of a team which enjoys a successful football season, while also stressing the importance of academic excellence and character, as did Coach Dodd’s teams during his 22 years as head football coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Coach Dodd remains one of college football’s legendary figures, both as a coach and a player. Coach Dodd was a native of Galax, Virginia, and played his college ball at the University of Tennessee where his team had 27 wins, one loss and two ties during the three years he played. Coach Dodd was selected to the National College Football Hall of Fame both as a coach and as a player.

About the Peach Bowl, Inc.

Peach Bowl, Inc. operates the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, one of the New Year’s Six Bowls selected to host the College Football Playoff. Last year, the Peach Bowl celebrated its Golden Season, including its 50-year history of traditions and successes as the nation’s ninth-oldest bowl organization. The Bowl has earned a reputation as one of the most competitive bowls in the country, with 54 percent of its games being decided by a touchdown or less. Peach Bowl, Inc. has disbursed $240.5 million in team payouts over its 50-year history. Peach Bowl, Inc. also leads all other bowl game organizations in charitable and scholarship contributions, giving more than $31.6 million to organizations in need since 2002. Peach Bowl, Inc. also runs the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament, manages The Dodd Trophy national coach of the year award and led the relocation and financial foundation of the College Football Hall of Fame to Atlanta.