Rowland

A Williamson County football alum got an honor from the OVC, and more middle Tennessee ties found themselves recognized for the conference's awards announcement. 

Fresh off the school’s first Ohio Valley Conference championship since 1977, Austin Peay football coach Mark Hudspeth has been named the OVC Coach of the Year as announced by the league on Tuesday.

He is just the fourth APSU coach to win the award — Bill Dupes (1964), Boots Donnelly (1977) and Will Healy (2017).

Tennessee State’s Chris Rowland was named Offensive Player of the Year, Eastern Kentucky defensive lineman Aaron Patrick was named Defensive Player of the Year and UT Martin quarterback John Bachus III earned Freshman of the Year honors.

The Govs led all schools with 11 All-OVC selections — seven first teamers, two second teamers and two all-newcomers – followed by UT Martin with 10 selections.

In his first year as head coach, Hudspeth guided the Govs to a school record nine wins, their first conference championship in 42 years and the school’s first-ever FCS playoff appearance. The Govs set a new school record this season with 5,158 yards of total offense and they beat nationally ranked opponents in consecutive weeks for the first time in program history.

Rowland made the first team as both a wide receiver and return specialist. The Nolensville native led the FCS in receiving yards with 1,437 and receiving yards per game (119.8), was second in all-purpose yards with 2,110 and all-purpose yards per game (175.8), and ranked third in receptions per game (8.7). He also led the Tigers with 166 punt return yards and was second with 375 kick return yards with two return scores.

This post originally appeared in our sister publication, the Nashville Post. 

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