Coach Dabo Swinney took home the title of the college football Coach of the Year at the American Heart Association’s 33rd annual Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards presented by Marathon Oil Corporation Wednesday. Swinney is the first coach in the Bryant Awards history to win the award three times.
The first to also win the award in consecutive years—2015 and 2016—Swinney has led Clemson to eight straight seasons of at least 10 wins, along with five ACC titles, seven ACC Atlantic Division titles and 11 straight bowl appearances since 2008. Dabo Swinney’s 11 seasons as Clemson head coach have propelled him among the greatest to walk the Tigers’ sideline in the program’s 122 years. The Clemson Tigers won their second National Championship under Swinney on Monday when they defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide, 44–16.
“You know it’s been a great year when you get invited to this event,” Swinney said. “It’s an honor to be here with Coach Beamer. He is one of the best men in this business. Coach Bryant built men through the game of football, and that’s just what I try to do.” Swinney went on to discuss the Tigers’ season and his perspective on coaching. “It was a special season for us with a special team. To be the first team in the modern history of college football to be 15-0…but it’s not just that we won, it’s how we won. What matters more than anything is the journey. That’s what’s special. Coaching is a calling. I believe that God put me on this green Earth to coach, and I thank the good Lord.”
The winner of this coveted annual award was selected by the National Sports Media Association, formerly known as National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. It is the only college coaching honor presented after all bowl games are concluded and recognizes an elite group of coaches for their distinguished leadership on and off the field.
Representing the country’s finest college football coaches, 2018 award finalists were: Bill Clark – University of Alabama-Birmingham, Josh Heupel – University of Central Florida, Brian Kelly – Notre Dame, Jeff Monken – Army West Point, Nick Saban – University of Alabama, Dabo Swinney – Clemson University and Jeff Tedford – Fresno State University.
The Bryant Awards also recognized 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award winner Frank Beamer, who coached the Virginia Tech Hokies for 29 years, retiring in 2015. Last year, in his first year of eligibility, Beamer entered the National Football Hall of Fame and he is one of just 13 who serve on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. In 2017, he won the coveted Nyland Trophy for his contributions to the game – an award that Bear Bryant himself received in 1983.
Beamer’s record includes four Atlantic Coast Championships, five ACC Coastal Division Crowns, three Big East Conference titles, six BCS appearances, two “major bowl” victories and a trip to the national championship game in 2000. Before returning to his alma mater, he served as head coach at Murray State from 1981 to 1986.
Sports aficionados who were unable to attend the Bryant Awards had the opportunity to watch the ceremony live on FOX College Sports. It will re-air on various FOX Sports affiliates in the next month. Funds raised from the Bryant Awards benefit American Heart Association research, advocacy and educational programs across the country aimed at the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Marathon Oil Corporation has served as the presenting sponsor of the Bryant Awards for the past ten years, underscoring the Company’s commitment to health and wellness. The Company strives to partner with local organizations to recognize and advance important public health initiatives in the communities where it operates.
For a recap of the fun, be sure to check out www.bryantawards.com and join the conversation by following #bryantawards and facebook.com/bryantawards.