HOUSTON - First-year Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin was named 2012 Coach of the Year finalist for the Marathon Oil Corporation Paul "Bear" Bryant Awards, the American Heart Association announced.
Joining Sumlin as a 2012 finalist were Vanderbilt's James Franklin, Ohio State's Urban Meyer, Penn State's Bill O'Brien, Stanford's David Shaw and Kansas State's Bill Snyder. Sumlin was also named a Bryant Coach of the Year finalist in 2009 after leading the Houston Cougars to 10 wins, including victories over No. 5 Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Mississippi State.
The Aggies had a strong first season in the rugged Southeastern Conference with a 10-2 overall record, including a 6-2 mark against conference opponents. The Aggies' league slate was highlighted by a 29-24 win over then-top-ranked Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Sumlin's Aggies are headed to the 2013 AT&T Cotton Bowl for a Jan. 4 date with the Oklahoma Sooners. The Aggies were ranked No. 9 in the final Bowl Championship Series, which is the program's highest since 1998. A&M will be seeking its first 11-win season since 1998 in the 2013 Cotton Bowl.
The 27th annual event slated to take place on Thursday, January 17 in Houston, Texas, will bring together the nation's top performing college coaches and sports enthusiasts to raise funds for heart disease in the name of Paul "Bear" Bryant. Marathon Oil Corporation is again generously supporting the American Heart Association and serving as the title sponsor of the event.
January's event will also recognize former Brigham Young University Head Football Coach LaVell Edwards, who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes excellence in coaching on and off the field during a career, allowing recipients to take their place in history alongside legends such as Paul "Bear" Bryant. Recent Lifetime Achievement recipients include Barry Switzer, Vince Dooley, Bobby Bowden and Hayden Fry.
Joining the evening's line up as keynote speaker will be University of Alabama's Director of Athletics Mal Moore. During a coaching career that spans 31 years, Moore spent 22 of those at Alabama with stops at Montana State, Notre Dame and the NFL's St. Louis and Phoenix Cardinals. At Alabama, Moore started as Coach Bryant's graduate assistant in 1964, and then was defensive backfield coach for six seasons beginning in 1965.
For the second consecutive year, Becky and Dave Roberts will chair the event. "Becky and I are thrilled to be a part of this annual fundraiser for the American Heart Association, and can't wait to get these coaches in the same room for a good cause," said Roberts. "The Bryant Awards provide a unique opportunity for college coaches to be evaluated based on their entire year - including the Bowl games. Since the Coach of the Year award is announced live at the event, it's still very much anyone's game."Funds raised benefit research, community education and outreach programs of the American Heart Association. For more information and to purchase tickets or a table to the event contact 713-610-5000 or visit www.bryantawards.com.