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ITHACA, N.Y. – Ithaca College head football coach Mike Welch is being honored for his dedication to the sport of football by a pair of national organizations.

Welch, a 1973 graduate of Ithaca, was named an Honorary Member of the American Football Coaches’ Association (AFCA) on Wednesday. Welch, who completed his 22nd season leading the Bombers in 2015, had previously served as AFCA president in 2015.

Welch will be honored at the AFCA Awards Luncheon, held Jan. 12 during the AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

Photo from the Ithaca Athletics website.

Additionally, Welch will receive the 2016 Outstanding Contribution of Amateur Football award at the Central New York chapter of The National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame banquet, which is scheduled for Jan. 31 at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y.

“I am truly humbled to receive both an Honorary Membership to the American Football Coaches Association, and to earn the Outstanding Contribution of Amateur Football award,” said Welch, who sports a 164-73 (.692 winning percentage) during his time as Ithaca’s head coach.

“Tom Osborne, Mack Brown, Archie Manning and many other great coaches and professionals are past recipients of this honor and to be considered in this same class is overwhelming. I want to thank the AFCA and the National Football Foundation for all they have done for the game of football, my life and for these very special awards.”

According to the AFCA, Welch received honorary membership thanks to his “continued dedication to football. His bettering of his community embodies the goals and values of the AFCA.”

As an honorary member, Welch will have lifetime membership and access to all the educational and coaching resources available from the AFCA, as well as the opportunity to attend the annual AFCA Convention each January.

The Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football award is presented to an individual whose efforts and activities have been “in support of amateur football, and to someone who works tirelessly out of a pure love of the game and a desire to help area youths play it well.”

With Welch guiding Ithaca, the program has recorded 20 winning seasons in 22 years. The Bombers have claimed seven Empire 8 conference titles while making eight trips to the NCAA Division III playoffs.

Welch was a member of the AFCA Board of Trustees for nine years, and he earned AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors in 2008 and 2013. He was enshrined into Ithaca College’s Athletics Hall of Fame in September of 2015.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.