ATHENS——Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart has been named a finalist for the 2017 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award.
Smart joins six other coaches as finalists for this year’s award. He has led the Bulldogs to a 12-1 record, the Southeastern Conference title and the school’s first appearance in the College Football Playoff. Georgia will face Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2018.
Along with Smart, the other finalists include Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Scott Frost (formerly of Central Florida and now with Nebraska), Clay Helton (Southern California), Gus Malzahn (Auburn), Jeff Monken (Army) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson).
Now in its 32nd year, the 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 have concluded and is voted on by the National Sports Media Association. The Bryant Awards Show will be televised live on FOX College Sports. It is presented by the American Heart Association (AHA) and title sponsor Marathon Oil Corporation.
Since 1986, the Bryant Awards have raised more than $8.5 million for the AHA to fund research, advocacy and educational programs across the country aimed at the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Prior to his death of a heart attack in 1983, “Bear” always talked about being bigger than something other than himself and the Bryant Award offers an opportunity to do just that – to be a part of Team Bryant in the fight against cardiovascular diseases.COURTESY Georgia Sports Communications