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Ole Miss Football’s Lane Kiffin Named to Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Watch List

Head coach Lane Kiffin at his Monday press conference Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

Ole Miss football head coach Lane Kiffin has been named to the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award Watch List, as announced by the American Heart Association and the Bryant Awards on Tuesday.

Kiffin was among 26 coaches nationally and five within the SEC named to the watch list, which is given annually 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. In honor of legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant, the American Heart Association and the Bryant family present the award each year to 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.

Kiffin has led the 12th-ranked Rebels to a 5-1 start in 2023, the third straight season he has done so through six games – the best such streak at Ole Miss since the Rebels did so in six straight seasons from 1957-62. The Rebels are currently one of six teams nationally with multiple AP Top 25 wins this season, with a 37-20 ranked road victory over No. 22 Tulane on Sept. 9, and an instant classic 55-49 thriller over No. 12 LSU on Sept. 30.

Kiffin is in his fourth season at Ole Miss, where he has led the Rebels to three consecutive bowl berths to start off his time in Oxford. In 11 years at the NCAA level, Kiffin has posted an all-time record of 89-48, including a 28-14 mark at Ole Miss. The Rebels ranked No. 3 nationally in rushing offense (256.6) and No. 8 in total offense (496.4) last season.

Kiffin guided the Rebels to a 10-3 record in 2021, the first 10-win regular season in school history. The Rebels finished the season ranked No. 11 in both the AP and AFCA Coaches Poll, its highest final ranking since 2016. Ole Miss ranked top-20 in the FBS in nine different offensive categories in his first season in 2020.

The 38th annual Coach of the Year award winner will be announced live from Houston’s Post Oak Hotel on Wed., Jan. 10, 2024. 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 Bryant Awards will also present Conference Coach of the Year awards to each of the Power-5 conferences and one from the Group of Five. Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr and Ole Miss legend Archie Manning – along with his wife, Olivia – will be recognized as well, with Carr receiving the 2024 Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award, while the Mannings will receive the 2024 Heart of a Champion Award.

2023 Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Watch List

Jeff Brohm – Louisville

Mack Brown – North Carolina

Troy Calhoun – Air Force

Curt Cignetti – James Madison

Jamey Chadwell – Liberty

Ryan Day – Ohio State

Kalen DeBoer – Washington

Eliah Drinkwitz – Missouri

Mike Elko – Duke

James Franklin – Penn State

Willie Fritz – Tulane

Jim Harbaugh – Michigan

Lane Kiffin – Ole Miss

G.J. Kinne – Texas State

Dan Lanning – Oregon

Lance Leipold – Kansas

Mike Locksley – Maryland

Mike Norvell – Florida State

Lincoln Riley – USC

Nick Saban – Alabama

Deion Sanders – Colorado

Steve Sarkisian – Texas

Kirby Smart – Georgia

Jonathan Smith – Oregon State

Mark Stoops – Kentucky

Brent Venables – Oklahoma

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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