Marshall’s Holliday Named to Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Watch List

Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone

HOUSTON -- American Heart Association and The Paul Bear Bryant Awards’ Title Sponsor Marathon Oil Corporation today announced the watch list for the coveted Coach of the Year Award, and Marshall coach Doc Holliday was among the 20 named. Holliday and East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill were the only two Group of Five coaches to make the list.


Marshall coach Bob Pruett was a finalist for the award in 1999, when the Thundering Herd amassed a 13-0 record.


The recipient will be revealed at the 29th annual event on Jan. 14, 2015 in Houston.


Holliday’s Thundering Herd (7-0 overall, 3-0 Conference USA) is ranked 22nd in the Amway USA Today Coaches poll with 247 points and 23rd in the Associated Press poll with 184 points.


Marshall is one of just four undefeated schools remaining in the Football Bowl Subdivision and leads the nation in scoring margin at +30.8. The Herd is led by quarterback Rakeem Cato, who set the NCAA's FBS record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass with a four-TD effort Saturday in a 45-13 win at FIU, to give him a streak of 39 games.

The Herd also features a top-10 ground game that is headed by junior Devon Johnson, who is tied for fifth nationally with 11 rushing touchdowns, is ninth with 133 rushing yards per contest and 11th in yards per carry at 8.24.


Defensively, the Herd gives up just 16.6 points per contest, a mark that is seventh nationally.


In December, a finalists’ list comprised of five to 10 coaches will be announced. Finalists will attend an awards dinner on Jan. 14, 2015 at the Hilton Americas Houston, where the winner will be announced live. The Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award is the only college coaching honor voted on after all of the bowl games are concluded and is voted on by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Last year’s winner was Gus Malzahn of Auburn University.


January’s event will also recognize Jimmy Johnson, one of the most respected and accomplished football coaches in NCAA and NFL history, as the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Recipient. The award recognizes excellence in coaching on and off the field during a career, allowing recipients to take their place in history alongside legends such as Paul “Bear” Bryant. Among the past recipients of the award are R.C. Slocum (2014), LaVell Edwards (2013) and Hayden Fry (2012).


The Bryant Awards honor excellence in coaching while raising funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. Bryant himself suffered a heart attack prior to his death in 1983. Funds raised benefit research, community education and outreach programs of the AHA.


Watch List

Art Briles, Baylor University

Mark Dantonio, Michigan State

Jimbo Fisher, Florida State

Huge Freeze, University of Mississippi

Todd Graham, Arizona State

Mark Helfrich, University of Oregon

Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia University

Doc Holliday, Marshall University

Brian Kelly, University of Notre Dame

Gus Malzahn, Auburn University

Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina University

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State

Gary Patterson, Texas Christian

Bo Pelini, University of Nebraska

Mark Richt, University of Georgia

Rich Rodriguez, University of Arizona

Nick Saban, University of Alabama

Bill Snyder, Kansas State University

Bob Stoops, University of Oklahoma

Kyle Whittingham, University of Utah

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