Press Release Courtesy: WVU Sports Communications- Mike Montoro
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen has been named one of nine finalists for the 2016 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award, today, by the American Heart Association (AHA) and title sponsor Marathon Oil Corporation.
A powerhouse lineup of finalists representing the country’s finest college football coaches, award nominees include: Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), P.J. Fleck (Western Michigan), James Franklin (Penn State), Clay Helton (USC), Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia), Mike MacIntyre (Colorado), Nick Saban (Alabama), Bob Stoops (Oklahoma) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson). The winner will be announced live on Jan. 11, 2017 during the awards banquet in Houston at the Toyota Center.
Holgorsen’s 2016 team achieved the ninth 10-win season in school history, becoming one of six WVU teams to do it in the regular season. He is one of three WVU coaches, along with Don Nehlen and Rich Rodriguez, to post multiple 10-win seasons. The seven Big 12 wins also are the most in a season, tying for second place in the standings, WVU’s highest finish.
WVU went 4-1 away from home this season and Holgorsen has a 12-2 home mark over the past two years. His 46 wins at West Virginia place him fourth on the school’s all-time win list, and he has led the Mountaineers to bowl games in five of the past six years, including three straight.
West Virginia has been ranked in both major polls for most of the 2016 season, spending time in the Top 10, and currently sitting at No. 14 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 12 in the Amway Coaches’ Poll.
In the national rankings, WVU’s offense is currently ranked No. 12 in total offense, No. 13 in first down offense, No. 18 in rushing offense, No. 24 in passing yards per completion, No. 29 in pass efficiency and No. 30 in pass offense. Defensively, WVU is No. 10 in turnovers gained, No. 19 in fumbles recovered, No. 23 in passes intercepted, No. 31 in turnover margin, No. 32 in pass efficiency defense and No. 36 in scoring defense.
WVU placed nine players on the Big 12 All-Conference teams, 10 players on the Big 12 All-Academic teams and 16 of his 21 seniors will have their degrees when they play in the bowl game.
These finalists join an elite group of coaches recognized for their distinguished leadership on and off the field.
The American Heart Association’s Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award is the only college coaching honor presented after all bowl games are concluded. It is voted on by the National Sports Media Association, formerly known as National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, and has honored many of the game’s greatest leaders, including Clemson’s Dabo Swinney in 2016.
College football fans can prep for bowl game season by following these finalists and the #bryantawards play-by-play at facebook.com/bryantawards.
Barry Alvarez, athletic director and former head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will be the recipient of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. Previous award winners include Mack Brown (2016), Jimmy Johnson (2015), R.C. Slocum (2014) and LaVell Edwards (2013), who now take their place in history beside legends like Bryant.
Since 1986, the Bryant Awards have raised more than $7 million to fund AHA 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.