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Dec 22, 2020

Swinney Named One of Eight Finalists for Paul “Bear” Bryant Award

The American Heart Association announced today that Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney has been selected as one of eight finalists for the 2020 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award. Swinney, the only three-time winner in the award’s history, will seek his record fourth selection.

Additional information from award organizers is included below.

HOUSTON, December 22, 2020 – Eight college football coaches are finalists for the 2020 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award. The Paul “Bear” Bryant Award annually recognizes the country’s top college football coaches for their contributions both on and off the field, making the sport better for athletes and fans alike by demonstrating grit, integrity and a winning approach to coaching and life. The award is the only college coaching honor selected after all postseason bowl games and the National Championship have been played.

In addition to the Coach of the Year, and new in 2020, the Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards program is also presenting Conference Coaches of the Year Awards from each of the “Power Five” collegiate athletic conferences (Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 10, Big XII, Pac 12, and Southeastern Conference) and one from the “Group of Five” conferences (American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference, Mountain West Conference, and Sun Belt Conference).

Football coaching legend, Paul “Bear” Bryant, died from a heart attack in 1983. Moved to drive education around heart disease after his passing, the Bryant family teamed with the American Heart Association in 1986 building on the Association’s Coach of the Year Award to create the Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards program. Each year since then, the awards honor “Bear’s” legacy by recognizing coaching excellence while raising critical funds for research to eradicate cardiovascular disease through event sponsorships, an auction and individual charitable donations.

The 2020 Conference Coaches of the Year awardees are (in alphabetical order):

The 2020 Coach of the Year finalists are (in alphabetical order):

The Coach of the Year will be announced live on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, during a virtual awards ceremony with proceeds benefiting the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives. The awards will be televised later nationwide on FOX Sports family of networks. The Conference Coaches of the Year awards and national Coach of the Year award are voted on by the National Sports Media Association, along with current NCAA College football coaches, former Coach of the Year Award winners and the Bryant Family.

Coaching legends Howard Schnellenberger and Sylvester Croom will also participate in the virtual awards experience in January 2021. Coach Schnellenberger will receive the 2021 Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, TX and Coach Croom, who also played for and coached under Paul “Bear” Bryant, will receive the 2021 Heart of a Champion Award.

Marathon Oil Corporation, an independent exploration and production company based in Houston, TX, has served as the presenting sponsor of the Paul “Bear” 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.

“This list of phenomenal coaches are all leaders on and off the field, and we welcome them to this elite group,” said Lee Tillman, Marathon Oil president and CEO. “We’re honored, along with the Bryant family, to support the lifesaving mission of the American Heart Association while carrying on Coach Bryant’s legacy.”

Fans can follow Paul “Bear” Bryant Award finalists, track progress of the awards and be among the first to know who is named Coach of the Year at or To attend the exclusive virtual, VIP experience for the Bryant Awards, contact 832-918-4009 or visit