Alum named president of AFCA

Cornell College Hall of Famer Rob Ash ’73, current head coach at Montana State University, has been elected president of the American Football Coaches Association for 2011.

Rob Ash '73

Ash moves up from first vice president of the AFCA, succeeding outgoing president Larry Kehres of the University of Mount Union. The AFCA was founded in 1922 and currently has more than 11,000 members around the world, ranging from the high school level to the professional ranks.

“This is a tremendous honor to be named president of the American Football Coaches Association,” Ash told the AFCA. “I started out serving on the Meeting Room Committee and have been involved with the Association for a long time. I have watched all those great coaches sit on the dais and have put those men on a pedestal, and to be able to climb this ladder really means a lot to me. I came up through the ranks as a Division III player, and Division III head coach to the FCS level, so I have experiences at all different levels of football and have empathy for every coach in the Association.”

Ash graduated from Cornell in 1973, capping an outstanding career in which he earned Little All-America honors and First Team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors as a senior quarterback. He was an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Winner in 1973.

Ash lettered three years in football (1970-72) and tennis (1971-73) at Cornell. He remained on the Hilltop and held roles as assistant football coach, head men’s tennis coach, sports information director and intramurals director until 1980. Ash’s four-year stint as a football assistant produced Midwest Conference championships in 1976 and 1978.

Since leaving Cornell, Ash has built winning programs at all three stops he has made – Juniata, Drake and Montana State – during a 37-year head coaching career. He owns a 205-116-5 overall mark, and still holds the career wins record at Juniata and Drake.

Ash recently completed his fourth season as head coach at Montana State, guiding the Bearcats to a 9-3 record, a share of the Big Sky Conference title and a berth in the FCS playoffs in 2010. For his efforts, Ash was named Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year.

Ash moved to Montana State after an 18-year stay at Drake (1989-06), where the Bulldogs had only two sub-.500 records and claimed four Pioneer Football League titles. Drake went 25-8 during Ash’s final three seasons.

Ash began his head football coaching career at Juniata in 1980. He compiled an eight-year mark of 51-36-3 and led the Eagles to a Middle Atlantic Conference co-championship in 1981. Ash’s final three squads there fashioned a 30-11-1 record.

Ash and his wife, Margaret, have two adult children, Scott and Kelly.

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