Quantcast

Auburn's Gus Malzahn wins Bear Bryant Coach of the Year - abc27 WHTM

Auburn's Gus Malzahn wins Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year Award

Posted: Updated:
Auburn coach Gus Malzhan, a finalist for the Paul "Bear" Bryant college coach of the year award, poses with the trophy Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) Auburn coach Gus Malzhan, a finalist for the Paul "Bear" Bryant college coach of the year award, poses with the trophy Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

HOUSTON (AP) — Gus Malzahn knows all about Bear Bryant, so this award meant a whole lot to the Auburn coach.

Malzahn is the Paul "Bear" Bryant College Coach of the Year after leading a remarkable turnaround in his first season in charge of the Tigers, who went to the national title game a year after they went 3-9.

Malzahn, who like Bryant is from Arkansas, said Wednesday night he was honored to be associated with an award with the name of the fabled former Alabama coach.

"When you're growing up he's the man," Malzahn said. "The fact that I'm from the state of Arkansas and he's from Fordyce, Arkansas and one of my best friends is coaching high school there makes it even that much more special."

Auburn came up just short in the national championship, with Florida State scoring a touchdown with 13 seconds left to pick up a 34-31 win.

"We're still hurting over the fact that we were close to winning the national championship and got beat," Malzahn said. "But if you can remove yourself from that it was a lot of fun, our players came a long way, they improved each week and we were 13 seconds away from being the national champion."

Malzahn beat out Baylor's Art Briles, David Bailiff of Rice, Michigan State's Mark Dantonio and David Shaw of Stanford for the honor.

The Tigers, who were winless in Southeastern Conference play in 2012, reeled off nine straight victories after a loss to LSU on Sept. 21 to gain a spot in the title game this season. They were the talk of college football when they returned a missed field goal 109 yards for a last-second score to beat then-top-ranked Alabama on Nov. 30.

Malzahn knew his team was talented, but even he was amazed at what Auburn was able to do this season.

"There's no doubt," he said. "It's hard to get better each week. I bet we're one of the few teams that actually did that, and the fact that we were playing our best football toward the end of the year, it was a lot of fun to watch those guys grow and end up where they did."

Dantonio led the Spartans to a school-record 13 wins and a No. 3 finish in the final Associated Press poll. It was Michigan State's highest ranking since reaching No. 2 in 1966.

"To me, Bear Bryant is almost a mystical figure," Dantonio said. "When you grow up in a football setting as I did in Ohio in that time period in the '60s and 70s when you were playing high school football, Bear Bryant is legend. To be associated with an award like this is very humbling."

Briles helped the Bears to their first Big 12 title and first BCS bowl game this season. He said Baylor's recent success has helped him get a much warmer reception than he once received when he visits the homes of recruits.

"It is completely different," he said. "We're in living rooms and kitchens that we never were in before and that's the reality of the situation. Baylor has always had a great location. Now we've got a great location, with a great stadium on a great river that's doing a great job on the football field and a great education."

Former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum was the ceremony's other honoree, receiving the Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award. Slocum coached the Aggies from 1989-2002.

"I did have a chance to know him and certainly his accomplishments I'm very aware of," Slocum said of Bryant. "Just to have a lifetime achievement award, there are so many people that are involved in that, and to me it's a sort of validation of the work of all those people, all those players."

The awards were given in conjunction with the American Heart Association.

  • UAB SportsMore>>

  • Fans ready for start of football season

    Fans ready for start of football season

    Thursday, August 28 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-08-28 11:45:46 GMT
    For some people, tonight is just as exciting as Christmas Eve! Thursday kicks off the college football season. Many fans have been counting down the days.More >>
    For some people, tonight is just as exciting as Christmas Eve! Thursday kicks off the college football season. Many fans have been counting down the days.
    More >>
  • UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 3:13 PM EDT2014-08-26 19:13:29 GMT
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
  • UAB guard Chad Frazier granted his release from basketball program

    UAB guard Chad Frazier granted his release from basketball program

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:12 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:12:02 GMT
    The leading scorer on the UAB basketball team is leaving the program. Guard Chad Frazier was granted his release and will not return."Chad Frazier has been granted his release from our program," head coach Jerod Haase said in a statement. "We appreciate his contributions to our program and wish him the best." Frazier, a first team All-Conference USA selection, was arrested last month and charged with third degree domestic violence. The case was later dismissed.Frazier played one season at UAB...More >>
    The leading scorer on the UAB basketball team is leaving the program. Guard Chad Frazier was granted his release and will not return."Chad Frazier has been granted his release from our program," head coach Jerod Haase said in a statement. "We appreciate his contributions to our program and wish him the best." Frazier, a first team All-Conference USA selection, was arrested last month and charged with third degree domestic violence. The case was later dismissed.Frazier played one season at UAB...More >>
  • All other Local CollegesMore>>

  • Samford coach Pat Sullivan will not travel with team to TCU

    Samford coach Pat Sullivan will not travel with team to TCU

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 2:59 PM EDT2014-08-27 18:59:15 GMT
    Samford football coach Pat Sullivan will miss Saturday's season opener against TCU. The school announced that Sullivan has been advised against traveling by doctors while he recovers from offseason surgery."Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip with my Samford team this weekend for our game against TCU," Sullivan said in a statement released through the school. "My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year. We have an...More >>
    Samford football coach Pat Sullivan will miss Saturday's season opener against TCU. The school announced that Sullivan has been advised against traveling by doctors while he recovers from offseason surgery."Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip with my Samford team this weekend for our game against TCU," Sullivan said in a statement released through the school. "My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year. We have an...More >>
  • No. 8 Michigan State readies defense for opener against JSU

    No. 8 Michigan State readies defense for opener against JSU

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-08-26 23:54:33 GMT
    Mark Dantonio cares more about how Michigan State plays than how many plays Jacksonville State can run with its fast-tempo offense in Friday's season opener for both teams.More >>
    Mark Dantonio cares more about how Michigan State plays than how many plays Jacksonville State can run with its fast-tempo offense in Friday's season opener for both teams.
    More >>
  • TCU to play both QBs in opener against Samford

    TCU to play both QBs in opener against Samford

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 7:45 PM EDT2014-08-26 23:45:15 GMT
    Trevone Boykin is in the same position he was last year with TCU, again part of the unanswered question of who will be the starting quarterback only days before the season opener against Samford.More >>
    Trevone Boykin is in the same position he was last year with TCU, again part of the unanswered question of who will be the starting quarterback only days before the season opener against Samford.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow