Oct. 26, 2009
University of Cincinnati head football coach Brian Kelly earned a spot on the watch list for the 2009 Paul `Bear' Bryant College Football Coach of the Year Award, the Bryant Awards committee of the American Heart Association announced.
Kelly is in his third season at Cincinnati with a record of 29-6. He led UC to the 2008 BIG EAST Conference Championship and is the two-time defending BIG EAST Coach of the Year.
UC is off to its first 7-0 start since 1954 and the Bearcats are ranked No. 5 in the latest Associated Press poll, their highest ever-ranking. UC's offense is averaging 40.7 points per game, ranking it second nationally, while the Bearcats also rank No. 2 in the NCAA FBS in passing efficiency with a rating of 163.89.
The Bearcats (7-0, 3-0 BIG EAST) lead the nation in sacks and tackles for a loss and third in turnover margin despite replacing 10 starters on defense in the offseason.
Kelly is one of 20 coaches chosen for the list, which was picked by a selection committee of current and past event chairmen, Bryant family representatives, National Sportscasters & Sportswriters Association representatives; college football sports analysts and former collegiate players and coaches.
Bryant College Football Coach of the Year finalists will be announced later in December and attend an awards dinner in Houston on Jan. 14, 2010. The winner will be announced live that evening. The winner of the Bryant College Football Coach of the Year is voted on by members of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and is the only college coaching award voted on after all bowl games are played.
The Bryant Awards honor excellence in coaching while raising funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the nation's No. 1 and No. 3 killers. Bryant himself suffered a heart attack prior to his death in 1983. Funds raised benefit research, community education and outreach programs of the AHA.