HOUSTON, January 15, 2020 – Coach Ed Orgeron from Louisiana State University took home the title of college football Coach of the Year at the American Heart Association’s Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards, presented by Marathon Oil Corporation. The 34th annual award benefits the Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives.
Orgeron took the helm of the Louisiana State University football team in 2016 and most recently led the LSU tigers to the National Championship beating the Clemson Tigers 42-25 Monday night. With a “One Team, One Heartbeat” motto, he has guided the Tigers to a 40-9 overall mark in his 49 games with the team. Of his 40 victories, 18 have come against teams ranked in the Top 25, including 12 over Top 10 opponents.
Accepting his award, Coach Orgeron said, “One Team, One Heartbeat. I have the best assistant coaching staff in the world, and I accept as a staff member of our football team. Without them, I would not be here.”
Earlier in the evening, he noted, “With opportunity there is always going to be opposition. You gotta be ready to battle. Football teaches you through adversity. Battle, and you win. Sometimes you don’t, you go back you work harder, and battle again.”
The Paul “Bear” Bryant Award recognizes the country’s top college football coach for their contributions both on and off the field. Notably, the Coach of the Year Award is voted on by the National Sports Media Association and is the only college coaching honor selected after all bowl games are concluded.
Representing the country’s finest college football coaches, 2019 award finalists were: Ryan Day, Ohio State University; Sonny Dykes, Southern Methodist University; P.J. Fleck, University of Minnesota; James Franklin, Penn State University; Ken Niumatalolo, Naval Academy; Mike Norvell, University of Memphis; Ed Orgeron, Louisiana State University; Matt Rhule, Baylor University; Dabo Swinney, Clemson University and Kyle Whittingham, University of Utah.
The Bryant Awards also recognized the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Memorial Hermann. Bill Snyder, who took part in two of the most dramatic turnarounds in college football history, received the award. Snyder, whose tenure as the Kansas State University coach spanned 27 years, 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.
After the 2005 season, Snyder retired and in his honor the football stadium was renamed Bill Snyder Family Stadium, but his departure from the team would be short-lived. Kansas State announced in 2008 that Snyder would return as its head coach after the team fell into a losing streak. Snyder retired for a second time following the 2018 season, finishing his career at Kansas State with 215 victories and two Big 12 Championships.
A new addition to the Bryant Awards, the Heart of a Champion Award was presented to ESPN College GameDay host Lee Corso. 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.
Paul “Bear” Bryant died of a heart attack in 1983. He frequently talked about being a part of something bigger than himself. In the years immediately following his death, the Bryant family teamed up with the American Heart Association to honor Bryant’s life in a meaningful way. Together, they created the Bryant Awards in his name which have done just that. Behind the scenes, these awards are much bigger than a season or career success. The awards have become an opportunity to honor coaches with heart both on and off the field, while also bringing awareness to heart disease and stroke – the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers.
Sports aficionados who were unable to attend the awards dinner and ceremony at the Post Oak Hotel in Houston had the opportunity to watch the ceremony live on FOX Sports Southwest and FOX Sports GO. It will re-air on various FOX Sports affiliates in the coming weeks.
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.
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.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
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For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)