Miles a Finalist for Bear Bryant Award
BATON ROUGE — LSU’s Les Miles is one of 16 head football coaches from across the country that have been named to the watch list for the 2007 Paul “Bear” Bryant College Football Coach of the Year Award, the awards committee of the American Heart Association announced on Thursday.
Miles, in his third season with the Tigers, has guided LSU to a No. 2 national ranking and to an 8-1 overall mark this year. With a 5-1 Southeastern Conference record, the Tigers are one victory away from clinching a berth in the league’s title game for the second time in three years.
Of LSU’s eight wins, five have come against teams ranked in the top 25, including top 10 victories over No. 7 Florida and No. 9 Virginia Tech. LSU’s five wins over ranked opponents is the most of any team in the country this year.
Miles has also guided the Tigers to three fourth quarter comeback wins, most recently against Alabama last week. LSU scored on its final possession to beat both Florida and Auburn. LSU’s only loss this year came to then-No. 17 Kentucky in triple overtime.
With a 30-5 overall mark in three years in Baton Rouge, Miles is off to the most successful start for any coach in school history. Miles is also the only coach in LSU history to beat Florida, Auburn and Alabama in the same season, and he’s done it twice ? 2005 and 2007.
The Bear Bryant Watch list will be narrowed down to five candidates on Dec. 12 at a press conference in Houston. The finalists will attend an awards dinner on Jan. 17, 2008 in Houston where the winner will be announced.
The winner of the Bear Bryant College Football Coach of the Year Award is voted on by members of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and is the only college coaching award given after all of the bowl games have finished.
Other coaches on the watch list for the award include: Michael Bellotti (Oregon), Rich Brooks (Kentucky), Lloyd Carr (Michigan), Randy Edsall (Connecticut), Dennis Erickson (Arizona State), Jeff Jagodzinski (Boston College), June Jones (Hawaii), Mark Mangino (Kansas), Chris Petersen (Boise State), Gary Pinkel (Missouri), Mark Richt (Georgia), Rich Rodriguez (West Virginia), Nick Saban (Alabama), Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), and Jim Tressel (Ohio State).