The following is an ASU Athletics Media release
TEMPE — The American Heart Association and The Paul Bear Bryant Awards’ Title Sponsor Marathon Oil Corporation today announced the watch list for the coveted Coach of the Year Award and Arizona State University head coach Todd Graham was among those named. The winner of the award will be revealed at the 29th annual event on Jan. 14, 2015 in Houston.
The coaches on the watch list for the 2014 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award include (alphabetical order):
• Art Briles, Baylor University
• Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
• Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
• Huge Freeze, University of Mississippi
• Todd Graham, Arizona State
• Mark Helfrich, University of Oregon
• Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia University
• Doc Holliday, Marshall University
• Brian Kelly, University of Notre Dame
• Gus Malzahn, Auburn University
• Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina University
• Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
• Gary Patterson, Texas Christian
• Bo Pelini, University of Nebraska
• Mark Richt, University of Georgia
• Rich Rodriguez, University of Arizona
• Nick Saban, University of Alabama
• Bill Snyder, Kansas State University
• Bob Stoops, University of Oklahoma
• Kyle Whittingham, University of Utah
Graham has led the Sun Devils to a 5-1 record to open the 2014 campaign and the Sun Devils are coming off back-to-back wins over AP-ranked opponents for the first time since the 1997 with the team’s most recent victories over USC and Stanford.
Arizona State is 18-5 in the last 23 games, the second-best record of all Pac-12 teams in the most recent 23-game span behind only Oregon (19-4). Of all the coaching hires made prior to the 2012 season, Graham has posted the fourth-best record at 23-10, half a game behind UCLA’s Jim Mora at 24-10 with only Urban Meyer (29-3) and Kevin Sumlin (25-9) ahead of them.
The Sun Devils have won six straight road games and Todd Graham is 9-5 on the road in his time at ASU. Graham has eight Pac-12 road victories under his belt already, tied for the second-most among all ASU coaches since 1980 behind only Bruce Snyder’s 18 from 1992-2000. In four seasons prior to Todd Graham, ASU was 5-13 in conference road games while Graham has led the squad to a 8-3 record in such games in his three seasons at the helm.
In December, a finalists’ list comprised of five to 10 coaches will be announced. Finalists will attend an awards dinner on Jan. 14, 2015 at the Hilton Americas Houston, where the winner will be announced live. The Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award is the only college coaching honor voted on after all of the bowl games are concluded and is voted on by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Last year’s winner was Gus Malzahn of Auburn University.
January’s event will also recognize Jimmy Johnson, one of the most respected and accomplished football coaches in NCAA and NFL history, as the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Recipient. 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. Among the past recipients of the award are R.C. Slocum (2014), LaVell Edwards (2013) and Hayden Fry (2012).
The Bryant Awards honor excellence in coaching while raising funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 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. For more information, or to purchase tickets or a table for the event, contact Jimmy Comerota at 713-610-5026 or visit www.bryantawards.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @ahahouston and #bryantawards.