Good news from Central.CWU football assistant head coach Joe Lorig was named the Division II Assistant Coach of the Year by the AFCA

WACO, Texas (Nov. 23) -- Central Washington University football assistant head coach Joe Lorig has been selected as the Division II National Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association, the AFCA announced Tuesday.

Lorig, 37, just completed his third season as the Wildcats' assistant head coach and defensive coordinator, was selected as the Division II winner among three total finalists. Other candidates for the award were Joe Evenson of Augustana (S.D.) and Ralph Isernia of Charleston (W.Va.).

Lorig, a native of Edmonds, has guided the Wildcat defense to some of the top numbers in the NCAA Division II during his tenure in Ellensburg. Last season, Central Washington led the nation in scoring defense at 11.9 points per game while allowing 58.5 rushing yards per game as the Wildcats ascended to the program's first number-one national ranking in its history as a NCAA member. And this season, Lorig's defense ranked third in Division II in rushing defense at 71.1 yards per game.

In addition to his success coaching Central's defense on the field, the two-degree graduate of Western Oregon University (1995 and 1997) has also been instrumental in the off-the-field involvement of the Wildcat football program. He leads a crew of student-athletes in an annual Yakima River cleanup, volunteers with the annual CWU Athletics Blood Drive, and takes players to local elementary schools to read in classrooms.

Lorig is the first CWU assistant coach to have earned this award in the program's history. Other Assistant Coaches of the Year, as announced by the AFCA on Tuesday, were Luke Fickell of Ohio State (Division I-Bowl Championship Subdivision), Rick Fox of Drake (Division I-Football Championship Subdivision), Chris Rusiewicz of Ursinus (Pa.) (Division III), and Doug Schleeman of Montana Tech (NAIA).