Ole Miss’s Kiffin one of 25 coaches on Coach of the Year watchlist

Published 2:57 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Twenty-five active college football coaches make up the American Heart Association’s 2022 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award watch list, a list of current coaches in consideration for the annual top honor. The award is given each January to a college football coach for contributions that make the sport better for athletes and fans alike by demonstrating grit, integrity and a winning approach to coaching and life- both on and off the field.

The American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives for all, and the Bryant family present this award annually to celebrate Bear Bryant’s legacy and raise awareness and critical funds for scientific research to eliminate needless suffering and death from cardiovascular disease and stroke, the leading causes of death globally. The football coaching legend died from a heart attack in 1983.

Now in its 37th year, the Coach of the Year award winner will be announced live from Houston’s Post Oak Hotel on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, during an awards ceremony presented by Marathon Oil. The Watch List, Finalists and Coach of the Year recipient are voted on by the National Sports Media Association, the Bryant Awards’ Executive Leadership Team and the Bryant Family.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The 2022 Watch List includes (in alphabetical order):

Southeastern Conference

Josh Heupel – University of Tennessee
Lane Kiffin – University of Mississippi
Nick Saban – University of Alabama
Kirby Smart – University of Georgia
Mark Stoops – University of Kentucky

Atlantic Coast Conference

Dino Babers – Syracuse University
Mack Brown – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dave Clawson – Wake Forest University
Dabo Swinney – Clemson University

Big Ten Conference

Bret Bielema – University of Illinois
Ryan Day – Ohio State University
Jim Harbaugh – University of Michigan

Big 12 Conference

Sonny Dykes – Texas Christian University
Mike Gundy – Oklahoma State University
Chris Klieman – Kansas State University
Lance Leipold – University of Kansas
Steve Sarkisian – University of Texas at Austin

Group of Five Conferences

Willie Fritz – Tulane University – American Athletic Conference
Gus Malzahn – University of Central Florida – American Athletic Conference
Jeff Traylor – University of Texas at San Antonio – Conference USA
Kane Wommack – University of South Alabama – Sun Belt Conference

Pac-12 Conference

Chip Kelly – University of California, Los Angeles
Dan Lanning – University of Oregon
Lincoln Riley – University of Southern California
Kyle Whittingham – University of Utah


In addition to the Coach of the Year, the Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards will also present Conference Coach of the Year Awards from each of the Power Five collegiate athletic conferences (Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, 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). The 2022 award cycle marks just the third year that the individual conference coach recognitions will be granted.

As previously announced, coaching legends Bob Stoops, former University of Oklahoma head coach, and Mark Dantonio, former Michigan State University head coach, will also be recognized at this year’s awards event. Coach Stoops will receive the 2023 Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, and Coach Dantonio will receive the 2023 Heart of a Champion Award presented by St. Luke’s Health in Houston.

Marathon Oil Corporation, an independent exploration and production company based in Houston, 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 it operates.

“We are honored to be the presenting sponsor for an award that recognizes college football coaches’ accomplishments on and off the field,” said Lee Tillman, Marathon Oil chairman, president and CEO. “We look forward to continuing our long-standing collaboration with the American Heart Association and the Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant Awards to carry on the legacy and impact they bring nationwide.