HOUSTON, October 23, 2019 – Twenty-two college football coaches are named to the 2019 American Heart Association Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards Watch List. These coaches will compete for the highly coveted, final title of the season: the 2019 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year. The winner will be announced live on FOX Sports Southwest and FOX Sports GO Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 during the awards dinner and ceremony, benefiting the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, at the Post Oak Hotel in Houston.

The coaches on this year’s Watch List are (in alphabetical order):

  • Matt Campbell – Iowa State University
  • Paul Chryst – University of Wisconsin
  • Bill Clark – University of Alabama-Birmingham
  • Dave Clawson – Wake Forest University
  • Mario Cristobal – University of Oregon
  • Ryan Day – Ohio State University
  • Eliah Drinkwitz – Appalachian State University
  • Sonny Dykes – Southern Methodist University
  • Luke Fickell – University of Cincinnati
  • P.J. Fleck – University of Minnesota
  • James Franklin – Penn State University
  • Bryan Harsin – Boise State University
  • Brian Kelly – University of Notre Dame
  • Gus Malzahn – Auburn University
  • Dan Mullen – University of Florida
  • Mike Norvell – University of Memphis
  • Ed Orgeron – Louisiana State University
  • Matt Rhule – Baylor University
  • Lincoln Riley – University of Oklahoma
  • Nick Saban – University of Alabama
  • Dabo Swinney – Clemson University
  • Kyle Whittingham – University of Utah

This list of 22 coaches will be narrowed to a distinguished group of finalists in December.

The Paul “Bear” Bryant Award recognizes the country’s top college football coaches for their contributions both on and off the field. The Coach of the Year Award is the only college coaching honor selected after all bowl games are concluded and is voted on by the National Sports Media Association. Last year’s winner, Dabo Swinney, lead Clemson University to its second National Championship in 2018 and is the only coach to win the award three times.

The American Heart Association and Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards title sponsor, Marathon Oil Corporation, announced last month that Kansas State University coaching legend Bill Snyder, who took part in two of the most dramatic turnarounds in college football history, will receive the 2020 Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Memorial Hermann Health System.

Snyder joins a roster of legends in college football coaching, including Frank Beamer (2019) Steve Spurrier (2018), Barry Alvarez (2017), Mack Brown (2016), Jimmy Johnson (2015), R.C. Slocum (2014) and LaVell Edwards (2013), among many others over the years, and stands alongside the esteemed Coach Bryant himself.

A new addition to the Bryant Awards, the Heart of a Champion Award will be presented to ESPN College GameDay host Lee Corso at this year’s event. This award was created to honor the legacy of Coach Bryant, while recognizing an individual who has significantly impacted the world of sports, but whose impact may be beyond the realm of coaching.

Corso has helped shape how fans watch college football today through his network television analysis. However, this award is about more than the professional dimensions of his sportscasting and former coaching career. Through perseverance, grit and determination, Corso was back on-air three months after suffering a stroke in May 2009 – he continues to entertain fans but also inspire stroke patients to keep fighting for the victories, both large and small.

Joining Snyder, Corso and the finalist at the event and further championing the legacy of Bear Bryant are 2020 co-chairs and college football enthusiasts, Vicki Hollub, President and CEO, Occidental Petroleum, and Cindy Taylor, CEO and President, Oil States International.

Taylor said, “Snyder’s contributions to the game of football have made significant impacts on and off the field. Coach Snyder won the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award in 1998, but his contributions to the Wildcats continue today and go far beyond just coaching. It’s also an honor to recognize Lee Corso as the inaugural recipient of the Heart of a Champion Award. Corso is not only an icon in college football, but he is also living the mission of the American Heart Association.”

“Much like the great Bear Bryant, the coaches on the Watch List have displayed many strong characteristics throughout their careers - integrity, perseverance, determination and grit,” said Taylor.

Behind the scenes, these awards are much bigger than a season or career success. The awards presentation is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on heart disease and stroke – the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. Before dying of a heart attack in 1983, Bear talked about being bigger than something other than himself. The Bryant Awards offer an opportunity to do just that — to join the American Heart Association in the fight against heart disease and stroke.

Marathon Oil Corporation has served as the presenting sponsor of the Bryant Awards for more than a decade, underscoring the company’s commitment to health and wellness and supporting initiatives that promote the well-being of workers and their families in the communities where they operate.  

Fans can follow the Watch List coaches, track progress of the awards and be among the first to know who made the finalist list at facebook.com/bryantawards. To purchase tickets to the Bryant Awards, contact 832-918-4009 or visit bryantawards.org.


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

For Media Inquiries:

Texas and Houston-area Media Inquiries: Alexis Sims: 870-715-5809, alexis.sims@heart.org

National Media Inquiries: Brooks Lancaster: 212.878.5975, brooks.lancaster@heart.org                  

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org