AUBURN -- Auburn head coach Gene Chizik was named the winner of the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award Tuesday at the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel and Convention Center in Houston. The annual award, which is sponsored by the American Heart Association and Marathon Oil, honors excellence in college football coaching, both on and off the field.
In just his second year at Auburn, Chizik led the Tigers to a perfect 14-0 record and the BCS National Championship and the school's seventh Southeastern Conference title.
"I'm extremely appreciative to win this prestigious award," said Chizik. "As a football coach when you can have your name associated with an individual that's done so much for the sport, it's a blessing. This is not an individual honor, but an award that is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of everyone associated with the football program from our administration, to the coaching staff, players and support staff."
The Bryant Award is the third national coach of the year award for Chizik, who also Home Depot National Coach of the Year and Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year. He was named the Associated Press Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year.
Among the finalists were Chris Ault, Nevada; Bret Bielema, Wisconsin; Mark Dantonio, Michigan State; Jim Harbaugh, Stanford; Chip Kelly, Oregon; Bobby Petrino, Arkansas; Mike Sherman, Texas A&M.
Chizik is the third Auburn coach to win the award, joining Tommy Tuberville (2004) and Terry Bowden (1993).
Celebrating 25 years at this year's event, The Marathon Oil Corporation Paul "Bear" Bryant Awards is the only college football coaching award voted on after all bowl games are played. Tuesday's event also recognized former Florida State coach, Bobby Bowden, as the Bryant Lifetime Achievement Recipient.