HOUSTON – Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema was one of 23 coaches named to the watch list for the American Heart Association (AHA) Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award, the AHA and Marathon Oil announced Wednesday.
Bielema has led the Razorbacks to a 5-2 (1-2 SEC) start through seven games this season. Arkansas is No. 17 in both the Amway Coaches poll and Associated Press Top 25 poll, following its second win over a ranked team this season and third straight against Ole Miss. The Razorbacks have been in the national rankings for six straight weeks, which is the program’s longest run since 2011.
Arkansas’ 34-30 win over No. 12 Ole Miss last Saturday night marked Arkansas’ fourth victory over a ranked team in its last six attempts. The Razorbacks have won 11 of their last 14 games dating back to their four-overtime win over Auburn in 2015.
Bielema and the Razorbacks are set for their third straight game and fifth this season against a ranked opponent as it travels to face No. 21 Auburn on Saturday for its first true SEC road game of the year. It will be the 23rd time in his 46 games as head coach at Arkansas that Bielema has taken on a ranked opponent.
The Coach of the Year Award is the only college coaching honor presented after all bowl games are concluded. It is voted on by the National Sports Media Association and has honored many of the game’s greatest leaders. Five to 10 finalists will be announced this December. The winner will be announced live on Jan. 11, 2017 during the awards banquet in Houston at the Toyota Center.