By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS
After squaring off in the national championship game on Monday night, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney will be in Houston on Wednesday night to see if they won the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award presented by the American Heart Association.
Tom Herman of Houston, David Shaw of Stanford, Ken Niumatalolo of Navy, Kirk Ferentz of Iowa and Larry Fedora of North Carolina are the other finalists for this award — college football’s only top-coach honor that is determined after all bowl games have been played.
In the finale, Swinney’s Tigers were chasing the first 15-0 season in major-college history, but Saban’s Crimson Tide pulled away late for a 45-40 victory. That gave Saban his fourth national championship at the school and fifth in his career. Bryant is the only coach with more crowns, having won six, all at Alabama.
All finalists will attend the ceremony, which is sponsored by Marathon Oil Corporation. Over its 30-year history, the event has raised more than $6 million to help the AHA in its mission of fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 5 killers of Americans.
Bryant won more games than any college football coach before him, then died following a massive heart attack in 1983. This award was established in his honor and has been given annually since 1986.
Saban won the award in 2003, when he coached LSU. He could become the second two-time winner of the award, and the first to do so at different schools. The only other two-time winner was Chris Petersen, who was honored for the 2006 and ’09 seasons. Saban also was a finalist last year, when TCU’s Gary Patterson was selected.
Mack Brown, who won a national championship at the University of Texas and finished runner-up to a Saban-coached Alabama team another time, also will be honored. He will become the fifth recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, joining Jimmy Johnson, R.C. Slocum, LaVell Edwards and Hayden Fry.