MEMPHIS, Tenn.- University of Memphis special teams’ coordinator and tight ends coach James Shibest, who has helped position the Tiger Football Program to vie for an American Athletic Conference title, is one of 40 nominees for the 2014 Broyles Award.
The Broyles Award honors the top assistant coach in America and was established in 1996 to honor legendary Arkansas Head Coach Frank Broyles who had a track record of producing some of the most successful assistant coaches in college football history.
Presented by The Rotary Club of Little Rock and Delta Dental, the 2014 Broyles Award winner will be announced on Dec. 9 at the Marriott Hotel in Little Rock, Ark.
“This will be one of the most challenging years ever for our selection committee to choose the top-five finalists and winner, so many assistant coaches did outstanding work this year,” said David Bazzel, Broyles Award executive director.
Shibest has played an important role in the resurgence of Memphis Football.
On Saturday, the 8-3 Tigers will play for at least a share of the American Athletic Conference championship at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m.
Memphis’ field goal and PAT units have been solid this year while the team’s punt and kickoff units have helped flip field position throughout the season.
Memphis sophomore place-kicker Jake Elliott leads the American Athletic Conference with 96 points heading into the weekend. He has made 17-of-27 field goals with nine of his 10 misses being from 43+ yards out. Elliott made two 50+ yard field goals in the Tulsa win, one of only two players in the nation to kick two, 50+ field goals in the same game. He also kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired at Temple to get the Tigers to six wins and make the program bowl-eligible for the first time since 2008. Elliott is also perfect on all 45 of his point after tries.
Senior receiver Keiwone Malone has become the school’s career record holder with 78 punt returns and his 697 career punt return yards ranks fourth in school history. Malone’s 8.3 yards per return average this year ranks 36th nationally.
Memphis has utilized two punters throughout the season – red-shirt freshman Spencer Smith and true freshman Nick Jacobs. Smith has handled punts in all 11 games this season, averaging 40.7 yards on 47 punts. He has placed 16 inside opponents’ 20-yard line. Jacobs has a 33.2 punting average with all 14 of his punts being downed inside opponents’ 20-yard line.
Memphis’ kickoff and kickoff return defense both rank among the nation’s top-20. Memphis allows opponents to average just 2.77 yards per punt return which ranks fifth nationally.
Memphis has not allowed a blocked kick during the season.
His tight ends have combined to catch 31 passes for 434 yards and five touchdowns.
Last year, Shibest was the only coach in America to coach both a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award as well as the Ray Guy Award, honoring the nation’s top punter. Tom Hornsey won the 2013 Ray Guy Award.
Shibest is in his third year on staff at Memphis. Prior to joining the Memphis staff, Shibest was the special teams’ coordinator and a position coach at Arkansas (200-07) and Ole Miss (2008-11).