Categorized | Missouri

Pinkel and Ray pick up SEC Awards

Posted on 10 December 2014 by Allen

Shane Ray Mizzou

The Mizzou Football program earned quite a bounty of individual awards today as the Southeastern Conference announced that Head Coach Gary Pinkel has been voted by league coaches as the 2014 SEC Coach of the Year. In addition, junior DE Shane Ray (Kansas City, Mo.) has been selected as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, while senior back Marcus Murphy (DeSoto, Texas) has been named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year.

Pinkel won coach of year honors after leading his Tigers to a 10-3 regular season and a second-straight SEC Eastern Division title, thanks to a 7-1 league record. Mizzou entered the season picked fourth in the SEC East by pre-season pollsters, a year after going 12-2 in 2013. Under Pinkel’s watch, Mizzou has now won conference divisional titles in five of the last eight seasons (2007, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014), which is tied for most in the nation during that stretch (along with Alabama and Florida State). Additionally, the Tigers’ 75 wins from 2007-14 is the 5th-most among FBS “power five” conferences.

This is the second time that Pinkel has won conference coach of the year honors at Mizzou. He won the same distinction in 2007 in the Big 12 Conference for leading Mizzou to a 12-2 record and a #1 national ranking late in the season. It marks the fifth time a Tiger coach has won conference coach of the year honors, and Pinkel is the first to win twice (Al Onofrio-1972; Warren Powers-1983; Larry Smith-1997; Gary Pinkel-2007, 2014).

Ray’s honor means that he is now the league’s unanimous defensive player of the year, as he’s been voted as such by both the Associated Press and league coaches.

Ray emerged from the shadow of 2013 standouts Michael Sam and Kony Ealy, who were both first-team All-SEC picks a year ago, and forged his own path, breaking records along the way. The first-year starter set a school record with 14.0 quarterback sacks, and he also totaled 21.0 tackles for loss, while ranking fifth on the team with his 61 tackles on the year. Ray leads the SEC and ranks 3rd nationally in sacks, while he ranks 2nd in the league, and 6th nationally in tackles for loss.

He is now the third Tiger to ever win conference defensive player of the year honors, matching former standouts Jeff Gaylord (A.P. – 1981) and Sam (A.P./Coaches – 2013).

Murphy’s award comes a day after he was twice named a first-team All-SEC performer by league coaches – on offense as an all-purpose back, and on special teams as a return specialist. Murphy emerged as one of the nation’s most versatile players and dangerous return men, as he ranks second in the SEC in all-purpose average (131.9 yds.). He is the only player in the nation to score TDs in 2014 via all four all-purpose categories: Rushing (4), Kickoff Returns (2), Punt Returns (1) and Receiving (1), and improved from 2nd-Team All-SEC acclaim in 2013.
Mizzou is off from practice until this Saturday, when they begin on-field preparations for the 2015 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl against Minnesota, set for Jan. 1st in Orlando, Fla.

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