David Cutcliffe and Gary Pinkel were Malzahn's only real competitors for the award this year. Congrats to all three for great jobs.
Gus Malzahn came within seconds of winning the BCS Championship Game. But his team’s last-minute loss to Florida State hasn’t gotten in the way of him winning multiple Coach of the Year awards. Already he’d picked up the Home Depot Coach of the Year Award, the Football Writers Association of America’s Eddie Robinson Award, and AP National Coach of the Year honors. Last night he added to his tally.
In a move sure to make a few Bama fans sick, Malzahn was announced on Wednesday as the winner of last season’s Paul “Bear” Bryant College Coach of the Year Award.
“When you’re growing up, he’s the man,” Malzahn said of the tribute. ”The fact that I’m from the state of Arkansas and he’s from Fordyce, Arkansas and one of my best friends is coaching high school there makes it even that much more special.”
The first-year Tiger coach admitted that he’s still stinging over his team’s loss to FSU in Pasadena. ”We’re still hurting over the fact that we were close to winning the national championship and got beat. But if you can remove yourself from that, it was a lot of fun, our players came a long way, they improved each week and we were 13 seconds away from being the national champion.”
The fact that his team improved each week — and improved from 3-9 under Gene Chizik in 2012 to 12-2 in 2013 — is the reason Malzahn will have a shelf full of trophies to someday look back upon and appreciate. Coach of the Year honors typically go to guys who win national championships. But there’s no denying Malzahn did more heavy-lifting than any other coach in the country in 2013.