HOUSTON, Texas - University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban is among the 16 semi-finalists for the Paul W. Bryant College Football Coach of the Year Award, the Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards committee of the American Heart Association announced today.
The selection committee consists of current and past event chairmen, Bryant family representatives, National Sportscasters & Sportswriters Association representatives and former collegiate players and coaches.
Saban has led the Crimson Tide to a 6-3 record this season, equaling the Tide’s win total from last year. Alabama is also 4-2 in the Southeastern Conference, which doubles last year’s conference win total.
Saban has not always inherited the best of situations when he has taken over as head coach at a new school. In the season prior to his arrival Toledo, Michigan State, LSU, Miami Dolphins and Alabama were a combined 24-38 (.387) overall. He inherited teams with losing records at Michigan State (1995), LSU (2000) and Alabama (2007). In his first year on the job, Saban’s teams have gone 38-21-1 (.642), which includes his 6-3 mark with the Tide this season.
Saban won the Bryant Coach of the Year Award in 2003 after leading LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship.
Gene Stallings is the only Alabama coach to win the Bryant Coach of the Year Award after leading the Crimson Tide to a 13-0 record and the school’s 12th national championship in 1992.
Saban was named Alabama’s 27th head coach on Jan. 3, 2007. He has compiled a 97-45-1 (.680) record in his collegiate career.
The Bryant Watch List will be narrowed down to five to 10 finalists and announced live by Alabama football legend and former NFL player Kenny Stabler during a press conference in Houston on Dec. 12. The finalists will attend an awards dinner on Jan. 17, 2008, where the winner will be announced.
Also during the January event, legendary Nebraska head coach and current Athletic Director Tom Osborne will receive the Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes excellence in coaching on and off the field during a career, allowing recipients to take their place in history alongside legends such as Bryant. Recent Lifetime Achievement recipients include Glenn “Bo” Schembechler, Jack Pardee and Lou Holtz.
The Bryant Awards honor excellence in coaching while raising funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers. Bryant himself suffered a heart attack prior to his death in 1983. Funds raised benefit research, community education and outreach programs of the AHA. For more information, or to purchase tickets or a table for the event, contact Lisa C. Burns at (713) 610-5026 or visit www.americanheart.org/bryantawards