The 33rd Annual Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards event was held on Wednesday evening at the Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston. Coaches and prominent sports figures from throughout the country mingled with guests during a reception before a seated dinner, which culminated in the presentation of both the Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award.
The Avera Companies was a sponsor for the event, which benefits the American Heart and American Stroke Associations.
The Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award, which highlights the outstanding achievements and extraordinary contributions which have reflected honor and sportsmanship to the game of football throughout the coach’s career, was given to Frank Beamer, whose tenure as Virginia Tech’s coach spanned 29 years. He won the coach of the year award in 1999.
The 2018 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award finalists were Bill Clark (UAB), Josh Heupel (UCF), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Jeff Monken (Army), Nick Saban (Alabama), Dabo Swinney (Clemson) and Jeff Tedford (Fresno State).
This year Dabo Swinney won the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year award for the third time in four years, two days after leading Clemson to its second national championship in three years. He is the first three time recipient in the history of the award.
The College Football Coach of the Year Award began in 1957 and was renamed for Coach Bryant in 1986, following his death by a heart attack in 1983. Since The Bryant Awards were renamed, the related events have raised over $6 million for the American Heart and American Stroke Associations to fund research, advocacy and educational programs across the country that are necessary for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease and stroke.