Jan. 9, 2004
Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden is one of nine finalists for the 2003 Bear Bryant Award. The award is presented each year to the National Coach of the Year of college football by the American Heart Association of Houston, TX and is voted on by a national board of sportscasters and sportswriters. The winner will be announced on January 15 in Houston.
Joining Bowden on the list of finalists are Lloyd Carr of Michigan, Pete Carroll of Southern Cal, Terry Hoeppner of Miami (OH), Paul Johnson of Navy, Steve Kragthorpe of Tulsa, Urban Meyer of Utah, Nick Saban of LSU and Bob Stoops of Oklahoma.
Bowden led the Tigers to a 9-4 record and a #22 final ranking in the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coach’s polls. The Tigers won each of their last four games by a combined 108 points, including victories over #3 ranked Florida State and #6 ranked Tennessee. He became the first coach in college history to defeat two coaches (Bobby Bowden of Florida State and Lou Holtz of South Carolina) with at least 200 victories in the same month.
The victory over third-ranked Florida State was the highest ranked team Clemson has beaten in its history, while the win over #6 Tennessee was the fourth highest ranked team Clemson has defeated at any time, the second highest ranked win in a bowl game. Bowden was named the ACC Coach of the Year for the second time in five years. He became the first coach in ACC history to lead a program to a bowl game in each of his first five years with a program.
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