Pete Fredenburg, right, head coach at Mary Hardin-Baylor University, accepts the Division III Coach of the Year award from former NFL star Archie Manning, during the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Awards at the Balboa Bay Resort on Monday. 
  • Newport-Mesa helps players, fans prepare for the big game

Newport-Mesa is spoiled. Not only do we get great weather, but when it comes to the Bowl Championship Series national championship (once every four years), the area has become the go-to spot for the competing teams and their fans.

The cap, or exclamation point, to the week came on Monday at the Balboa Bay Resort with the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year winners announcement.

Can you believe Archie Manning was in Newport Beach?

“Your weather beats most of the country right now,” he said at the Balboa Bay Resort after I asked him what he thought of Newport Beach. “I live in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s 20 degrees there today.”

Manning is the chairman of the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame, which supports the Liberty Mutual award.

He sat five seats from me in the Grand Ballroom at the Balboa Bay Resort. How cool is that?

I saw him prepare for his speaking, reading over his notes and I thought that’s what he might’ve done when he played pro football. Those Mannings are well known for their preparation.

Manning and his sons are people who gave me great inspiration after watching “The Book of Manning,” an ESPN30 for 30 special.

“I was reluctant to do that,” Manning said of the dramatic and poignant documentary of his family. “I was kind of talked into it by the Southeastern Conference and then my wife. When I heard the presentation of it, I thought I don’t want to bother people. But she said, ‘This is something I want our grandchildren to see.’ I thought Rory Karpf worked really hard to make it a good show. I’m pleased because I got so many wonderful letters from people that it affected.”

Manning was at the Balboa Bay Resort to talk about the winning coaches of this award that gives back to charities and motivational programs.

Each of the Coach of the Year Award winners received a $50,000 donation from Liberty Mutual Insurance to support his favorite charities and a $20,000 donation to his school’s alumni association for scholarship.

The winning coaches were: Auburn‘s Gus Malzahn (Division I FBS); North Dakota State’s Craig Bohl (Division I FCS), Minnesota Duluth’s Curt Wiese (Division II) and Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Pete Fredenburg (Division III). All but Malzahn showed up for the presentation and Malzahn provided a video acceptance speech.

The program closed out a great week in Newport-Mesa with the BCS as the theme. The national championship crystal trophy, known as the Coaches’ Trophy, was on display at the Newport Beach Sports Museum on Friday. The Florida State football team practiced at the Jack R. Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa and the Auburn Tigers prepared for the big game at UC Irvine.

What a treat.

The closed-to-the-public practices in Costa Mesa were open to the media for 20 minutes on Thursday. That’s when I went and saw Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston warm up with his teammates.

The teams and coaches, alumni associations and school bands all became a part of our area this week.

You could say we were spoiled and I hope they felt the same way.