Memphis' Fuente, Lynch named TSWA football coach, player of the year

 Justin Fuente

Justin Fuente

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Justin Fuente and Paxton Lynch from the University of Memphis were voted the College Football Coach and Player of the Year, respectively, by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association for the 2015 season, as announced by the organization this week. Fuente and Lynch will be honored at the TSWA Convention Awards Luncheon on Friday, July 8 at the TSSAA headquarters in Hermitage, Tenn.

Fuente led the Tigers to a 9-3 overall mark, guiding the program to its second straight bowl appearance. Memphis climbed as high as No. 13 in the national polls, the program’s highest ranking in school history. UM also made history with its No. 13 ranking in the College Football Playoff poll in early November.

Memphis put together a school-record 15-game win streak, a stretch that started during the 2014 campaign. Fuente presided over the winningest two-year period in UM football history,  with the Tigers posting a combined 19-6 mark in 2014 and 2015.

 Paxton Lynch

Paxton Lynch

Lynch was a finalist for the Manning Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in 2015, earning First Team All-American Athletic Conference honors. He started 38 games in his Memphis career, passing for 8,863 yards and 59 touchdowns. Both marks rank second on the Tigers all-time charts.

Lynch completed 67 percent of his passes for 3,776 yards, 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions this season. He tied an NCAA record by throwing seven touchdown passes in a half (first half) vs. SMU in the regular-season finale, completing the seven scoring strikes to seven different receivers. He was selected No. 26 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos and was the first player drafted from a state of Tennessee college/university.