(KSDK Sports) -- As Missouri Head Football Coach Gary Pinkel continues to prepare for the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma State on January 3rd, he's also enjoying the by-product of a successful 2013 season. Today, Missouri announced Pinkel has been named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Coach of the Year for Region 2, in acknowledgement for his Tigers putting together an 11-2 season which included an Eastern Division championship in the Southeastern Conference.
Additionally, the winner will be announced on Monday, Dec. 16th, and Pinkel will be considered along with fellow finalists Art Briles (Baylor), David Cutcliffe (Duke), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Jimbo Fisher (Florida State), Gus Malzahn (Auburn), George O'Leary (UCF) and David Shaw (Stanford).
Pinkel has guided Mizzou to one of its top seasons in program history in 2013. After being picked to finish sixth in the seven-team SEC East in the pre-season, his Tigers went 11-1 in the regular season, and turned in a 7-1 mark in SEC play to claim the East Division outright – marking MU's fourth division title in the last seven years (2007, 2008, 2010, 2013). Mizzou reached as high as 5th in the weekly polls, and after last week's defeat to Auburn in the SEC Championship Game, the Tigers landed 8th in the final Bowl Championship Series season poll. Pinkel's 101 wins at Mizzou in 13 seasons have him tied with former Coach Don Faurot for most in school history. He'll go for sole possession of the record on Jan. 3rd, when his team plays in the 2014 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic against former conference foe Oklahoma State.
The AFCA recognizes five regional Coach of the Year winners in each of the Association's five divisions: Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and NAIA. The winners are selected by Active members of the Association who vote for coaches in their respective regions and divisions.
The 2013 Regional Coach of the Year winners will be recognized at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner at the 2014 AFCA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. The dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, January 14.