HOUSTON, Jan. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Dabo Swinney of Clemson took home the title of the college football Coach of the Year at the American Heart Association's 31st annual Paul "Bear" Bryant Awards presented by Marathon Oil Corporation. Swinney is the first coach in the Bryant Awards history to be recognized as Coach of the Year in consecutive seasons ('15 and '16) and just the second coach to win the award twice.
The 2016 season is officially in the books and the Clemson Tigers finished the season 14-1, ultimately winning the National Championship title during an action-packed game against Alabama. In his last 60 games, Swinney is 52-8 and has claimed two ACC championships and a National Championship.
"It's special to be back here and to win this trophy tonight, and I'm thankful to the Bryant family and the American Heart Association," Swinney said. "Coach Bryant to me is one of the greatest givers and that's how we should be measured – by how much we give not what we take. Coach Bryant was such a great giver and he was my hero."
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, other finalists were: Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), P.J. Fleck* (Western Michigan), James Franklin (Penn State), Clay Helton (USC), Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia), and Mike MacIntyre (Colorado).
*P.J. Fleck is currently Minnesota's head coach, but honored by AHA for his accomplishments as the head coach of Western Michigan.
The Bryant Awards also recognized 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award winner Barry Alvarez, athletic director and former head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Alvarez is praised for revitalizing the Badgers' football program during his coaching tenure from 1990-2005 and is by far the winningest coach in Wisconsin football history (119-74-4 record). He has led Wisconsin's athletics department since 2004 and will continue to serve in the role until 2021. In his 13-year tenure, Wisconsin sports have won 56 conference titles and 14 national championships.
"I am humbled and honored to receive the Paul "Bear" Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award. It is certainly a privilege to be here supporting the American Heart Association and the tremendous job that you do," Alvarez said. "The name alone speaks a bulk of excellence and tonight that is what this award represents and it's obvious why the honor is named after Bear Bryant."
For the second time in its history, sports aficionados who were unable to attend the Bryant Awards had the opportunity to watch the ceremony live on FOX College Sports. In case you missed it, catch the special airing on Sun., Jan. 22 at 9 p.m. CST on FOX Sports Southwest.
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 eight years, underscoring the Company's commitment to health and wellness and supporting initiatives that promote the well-being of workers and their families both on and off the job. The Company also values the communities in which its employees live and work, and strives to partner with local community leaders to recognize and advance important public health initiatives that promote the common good and protect the public.
About American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit www.heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.
About Marathon Oil Corporation
Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO) is a global exploration and production company. Based in Houston, Texas, the Company had net proved reserves at the end of 2016 of 2.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent in North America, Europe and Africa. For more information, please visit the Company's website at www.marathonoil.com.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dabo-swinney-of-clemson-named-american-heart-associations-2016-paul-bear-bryant-coach-of-the-year-300389986.html
SOURCE American Heart Association Houston Division