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Alabama head coach Nick Saban. (Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT) Photo via Newscom
Coach Saban Named Finalist for Paul â€œBearâ€ Bryant Coach of the Year Award (courtesy of UA)
TUSCALOOSA â€“ For the second straight year, Alabama head football coach Nick Saban is a finalist for the 2009 Paul â€œBearâ€ Bryant Coach of the Year Award, the American Heart of Association selection committee of Houston, Texas announced Thursday afternoon.
The other finalists include Texas head coach Mack Brown, Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh, Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, Boise State head coach Chris Petersen and Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin.
In addition to leading their respective teams into the BCS National Championship Game, Saban and Brown are past winners of the Paul â€œBearâ€ Bryant Coach of the Year award. Saban won the award in 2003 after leading the LSU Tigers to a 13-1 overall and the BCS National Championship. He was a finalist last season after leading Alabama to a 12-2 record and the schoolâ€™s first SEC Championship Game appearance and BCS bowl berth since 1999. Brown won the award after leading Texas to the national title in 2005.
Saban was named the 2009 SEC Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, SEC Head Coaches and Sporting News, after leading the Crimson Tide to a 13-0 record and berth in the BCS National Championship Game against Texas on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
The Crimson Tide captured its 22nd SEC Championship this season with a 32-13 win over No. 1 Florida in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta on Dec. 5. Saban joins former Alabama head coach Paul â€œBearâ€ Bryant as the only two coaches in league history to win an SEC Championship at two different schools. Saban has three SEC titles under his belt at LSU (2001 and 2003) and Alabama (2009). Bryant won 14 SEC Championships at Kentucky (1) and Alabama (13) during his 25-year coaching career. Saban has also mentored two national award winners this season in Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and Butkus Award winner Rolando McClain.
Saban has compiled a 32-8 (.800) record in his three-year career at Alabama and has led the Crimson Tide to victory in 27 of its 29 games dating back to the 2007 season.
The Paul â€œBearâ€ Bryant Award honors excellence in coaching while raising funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the nationâ€™s No. 1 and No. 3 killers. Funds raised benefit research, community education and outreach programs for the American Heart Association.
The winner will be announced live at the annual awards dinner benefiting the American Heart Association on Jan. 14, 2010 at the Hilton Americas in downtown Houston.