Archie Manning and Kirk Herbstreit Invite College Football Fans to Sound Off On Sportsmanship and Academics

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New Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Videos Emphasize Head Coaches Role in Promoting Sportsmanship and Academic Achievement

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As students they must demonstrate academic responsibility to maintain scholarship eligibility while learning how to balance and honor their commitment to their team. Great coaches recognize the benefit personal achievement plays in how athletes approach the game and seek to instill character development on the field and in the classroom.

When college athletes aren't performing for fans, they are hitting the books and it's paying off. A report by the NCAA found that multi-year academic progress rates indicate that nearly all 6,272 Division I teams across all NCAA sports are achieving or exceeding the standards for academic performance based on four years of data. To explore the rigors of student athletes playing football and how academic development plays a role in sportsmanship, Liberty Mutual Insurance engaged Archie Manning, chair of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, and ESPN College Football Analyst Kirk Herbstreit to offer off their perspectives in the latest "Coach's Corner" videos on the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award website.

"There's more to student athletes than what we see on the field," said Manning. "As students they must demonstrate academic responsibility to maintain scholarship eligibility while learning how to balance and honor their commitment to their team. Great coaches recognize the benefit personal achievement plays in how athletes approach the game and seek to instill character development on the field and in the classroom."

While Manning points out that it's up to coaches to preserve the game and uphold the highest set of standards some question the ability of coaches to balance the pressure of managing a winning program and ensuring that student athletes exhibit academic excellence and good sportsmanship.

According to Manning, "While principles of sportsmanship and academic achievement must be enforced by head coaches, assistant coaches, team captains and senior team members also play a critical role in promoting and reinforcing these standards."

College football fans are invited to offer their perspectives at coachoftheyear.com. To date, more than 85,000 fans have posted stories and comments to Liberty Mutual's "Sound Off" section, designed especially for college football fans interested in sharing their thoughts, opinions and views on the latest college football topics.

While visiting the site, fans are also invited to cast their vote for the 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, the only award of its kind that allows fans to vote for the coach whom they believe exemplifies excellence in coaching. With hundreds of thousands of votes already cast, there is still time for fans to influence the outcome. Voting at CoachoftheYear.com ends December 6, and 25 finalists will be announced December 9 based on fan votes and an objective scoring model endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame. Fans will again vote December 12-22 among the finalists, and winners will be announced December 31 during halftime of the Music City Bowl.

About Coach's Corner:
Launched in concert with the 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award the sportsmanship and academics videos are the latest installments of "Coach's Corner," a weekly video series that features discussions between Manning and Herbstreit on everything from responsible coaching to play calling, sportsmanship, discipline and recruiting. These exclusive videos are viewable on both the Coach of the Year website and YouTube.

About the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award:
The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year winners are celebrated in a permanent exhibit at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. More than just a trophy, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award celebrates coaching excellence on and off the field of play, including the positive impact coaches have on the lives of young people, their families and their communities. As a way of rewarding the accomplishments of coaches, Liberty Mutual donates on behalf of each winner $50,000 to the charitable organizations of their choice and a $20,000 grant to the winning schools' alumni association for enrichment or scholarship activities. To date, Liberty Mutual has donated $400,000 to local charities and alumni associations on behalf of Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award winners. The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year charitable contributions will climb to $680,000 after this season.

About Liberty Mutual:
"Helping people live safer, more secure lives" since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group is a diversified global insurer and sixth-largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2007 direct written premium. Liberty Mutual Group ranks 94th on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. corporations, based on 2007 revenue. The company has over 45,000 employees located in more than 900 offices throughout the world.

The eighth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual (LibertyMutual.com) sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance. The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering car and home insurance to employees and members of more than 10,000 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups.

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Glenn Greenberg
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