Jim Harbaugh named finalist for Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award

Jim Harbaugh’s Coach of the Year campaign continues with further honors for the Wolverines chieftain.

On Tuesday, the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award announced that Harbaugh had been named a finalist for the award, along with Tulane’s Willie Fritz, UTSA’s Jeff Traylor, Georgia’s Kirby Smart, Tennessee’s Josh Heupel and TCU’s Sonny Dykes as its finalists.

The award will be presented at a ceremony on January 11.

From the official release:

Six active college football coaches are finalists for the American Heart Association’s 2022 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award. Each year, the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award recognizes the nation’s top football coaches for their contributions both on and off the field, making the sport better for athletes and fans alike by demonstrating perseverance, integrity and a winning approach to coaching and life. The Coach of the Year award is voted on by the National Sports Media Association, current NCAA College football coaches, former Coach of the Year Award winners, the Bryant Awards Executive Leadership Team, and the Bryant family.

The finalists Coach of the Year 2022 are (in alphabetical order by finalist last name):

Sonny Dykes – Texas Christian University – Big 12 ConferenceWillie Fritz – Tulane University – American Athletic ConferenceJim Harbaugh – University of Michigan – Big Ten ConferenceJosh Heupel – University of Tennessee – Southeastern ConferenceKirby Smart – University of Georgia – Southeastern ConferenceJeff Traylor – University of Texas at San Antonio – Conference USA

University of Alabama football coaching legend Paul “Bear” Bryant died of a heart attack in 1983. After his passing, the Bryant family became committed to promoting education around heart disease and in 1986 partnered with the American Heart Association, building on the Association’s Coach of the Year Award to create the Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards program. Each year, the awards honor “Bear’s” legacy by recognizing excellence in coaching while raising critical funds in support of the mission of the American Heart Association through event sponsorships, an auction, and individual charitable donations.

The winner of the Coach of the Year award, now in its 37th year, will be announced on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 from Houston’s Post Oak Hotel at an awards ceremony presented by Marathon Oil. The live broadcast will air on Bally Sports Southwest sports channel, with proceeds benefiting the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization dedicated to a world of longer, healthier lives. The awards will also be rebroadcast nationwide on Bally Sports networks.

“The American Heart Association could not be more proud to recognize these outstanding coaches and the impact they have had both on and off the field,” said Mel Edwards, Senior Vice President and Executive Director of American Heart Association Houston. “These finalists truly embody and honor the legacy of ‘Bear’ Bryant, and we wish them well for the rest of the season.”

As previously announced, college coaching legends Bob Stoops and Mark Dantonio will also be recognized at the awards event. Bob Stoops receives the 2023 Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, and Coach Dantonio receives the 2023 Heart of a Champion Award, presented by St. Luke’s Health System in Houston. The winner of the Fan Vote, sponsored by Accenture, will also be announced. There is still time to vote, until December 16, at https://bryantawards.org/fan-vote/.

Marathon Oil Corporation, an independent exploration and production company based in Houston, has been the presenting sponsor of the Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards for more than a decade. Marathon Oil’s support underscores the company’s commitment to health, wellness and supporting initiatives that promote the well-being of employees and their families in the communities in which they operate.

“Our company has a longstanding support for the American Heart Association and its lifesaving mission,” said Lee Tillman, chairman, president and CEO of Marathon Oil. “We are excited to welcome these finalists to Houston on January 11 to honor and recognize all the work they have done.”

Fans can follow the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award finalists, follow the progress of the awards and be among the first to know who has been named Coach of the Year at facebook.com/bryantawards or twitter.com/bryantawards. To attend the exclusive VIP experience for the Bryant Awards, please call 832-918-4009 or visit bryantawards.org.

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