COACH OF THE YEAR: OSU head football coach Mike Gundy with the Bear Bryant award.
Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State took the Coach of the Year title Thursday evening at the Marathon Oil Corporation Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards, which raises funds annually for the Houston Division of the American Heart Association.
The Coach of the Year winner is selected each year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and announced live at the awards dinner. The award recognizes excellence in coaching both on and off the field while raising funds to fight heart disease and stroke.
“We have a tradition in college football where the name of Paul “Bear” Bryant is synonymous with winners. To even be here is a huge accomplishment for our players and staff, and I want to give credit to them. This really means a lot,” says Gundy.
A decorated Oklahoma high school athlete and one of the most successful quarterbacks in history, Gundy is still the youngest coach in the Big 12 Conference but has validated his selection in a big way. Oklahoma State has reached the Associated Press top 10 in four consecutive seasons and has not only set a school record for first-team all-league selections, but also for first-team academic all-conference selections. In the seven years since his hiring, he has established Oklahoma State as not only a program on the rise but a program that has arrived.
Under Gundy, the Cowboys claimed the Big 12 crown for 2011. He led the Cowboys to an impressive 12-1 record with a win in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. This is the second year in a row that Gundy has put the Cowboys at the top of the Big 12. The Cowboys are 22-3 over the last two seasons and has the Big 12’s best conference record since 2009 at 20-5. During that same time frame, has been one of the country’s best road teams with a 13-2 record.
The finalists that competed with Gundy for the Coach of the Year Award included: Art Briles, Baylor University; Brady Hoke, University of Michigan; Les Miles, Louisiana State University; David Shaw, Stanford University; Bill Snyder, Kansas State University; Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M University (2011 – University of Houston); and Dabo Swinney, Clemson University.
The 26th annual event also recognized former University of Iowa Head Football Coach Hayden Fry as the Lifetime Achievement recipient. Recent Lifetime Achievement recipients include Barry Switzer, Glenn “Bo” Schembechler, and Bobby Bowden.
Funds raised benefit research, community education and outreach programs of the Houston Division of the American Heart Association.