Mark Stoops on Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award Watch List

Mark Stoops on Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award Watch List


For the third straight season, Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops is on the watch list for the American Heart Association’s 2023 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award. He is one of 26 coaches up for the award, given each January to a college football coach for contributions that make the sport better for athletes and fans alike by demonstrating grit, integrity and a winning approach to coaching and life – both on and off the field. 

The American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives for all, and the Bryant family present this award annually to celebrate Bear Bryant’s legacy and raise awareness and critical funds for scientific research to eliminate needless suffering and death from cardiovascular disease and stroke, the leading causes of death globally. The football coaching legend died from a heart attack in 1983. 

Kentucky is 5-2 on the season, including 2-2 in the Southeastern Conference.  The campaign is highlighted by the Wildcats’ 33-14 victory over then-No. 22/23 ranked Florida, a win that earned Stoops a national honor, the Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week award. 

During the season, Stoops has added to his school records for most victories (71), most SEC victories (34), wins against ranked opponents (12) and home victories (50).  It’s worth noting that, in September of 2022, Stoops’ 61st win at UK broke the career record held by Bryant, who went 60-23 as UK’s head coach from 1946-53. 

Off the field, Stoops was named Honorary Coach of the 2022 AFCA Good Works Team, in recognition of the millions of dollars he has helped raise and other service events he has done for the Kentucky Children’s Hospital.   

After an open date this week, UK will resume play Saturday, Oct. 28 in a border battle against No. 17/15 Tennessee in Kroger Field at 7 p.m. EDT on ESPN.  

Now in its 38th year, the Coach of the Year award winner will be announced live from Houston’s Post Oak Hotel on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, during an awards ceremony presented by Marathon Oil. The watch list, finalists and Coach of the Year recipient are voted on by the National Sports Media Association, the Bryant Awards’ Executive Leadership Team and the Bryant Family. 

In addition to the Coach of the Year, the Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards will also present Conference Coach of the Year Awards from each of the Power Five collegiate athletic conferences (Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) and one from the Group of Five conferences (American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference, Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt Conference).  

Coaching legend Lloyd Carr, former University of Michigan head coach, and Archie Manning, former Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints quarterback, and his wife Olivia will also be recognized at this year’s awards event. Coach Carr will receive the 2024 Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, and Archie and Olivia Manning will receive the 2024 Heart of a Champion Award presented by St. Luke’s Health in Houston. 

Fans can follow the action at, or the hashtag #BryantAwards. For more information on the awards, sponsorship opportunities, or to attend the 2024 Bryant Awards, contact or visit 

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