Not surprisingly, yet another coaching award has a decidedly familiar feel to it.
Wednesday, a group of seven finalists were announced for the 2017 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award, one of the nation’s top award for college football coaches. Named in honor of the Alabama legend, those seven finalists are:
- Paul Chryst — Wisconsin
- Clay Helton — USC
- Scott Frost — Nebraska, for his work at UCF
- Gus Malzahn — Auburn
- Jeff Monken — Army
- Kirby Smart — Georgia
- Dabo Swinney — Clemson
Swinney is looking to become the first coach in the 32-year history of the award to win it three consecutive years, after becoming the first to win it in back-to-back years. In January of 2017, Swinney joined Boise State’s Chris Petersen (2006, 2009) as the only two-time winners.
In addition to Swinney, one other College Football Playoff semifinalist, Smart, is up for the honor.
Smart, Swinney, Helton and Frost all led their respective teams to conference championships, while Chryst and Malzahn made it to their league title game. Monken guided the service academy to its best season in over two decades and has the chance to, with a bowl win, become just the second Black Knights coach (Bob Sutton, 1996) to reach 10 wins in a single season.