🏈 Lance Leipold Named to Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Watch List

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas Football head coach Lance Leipold is one of 25 college football coaches on the American Heart Association’s Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Watch List, the organization announced Wednesday.

The Bryant Coach of the Year Award is awarded annually 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.

Leipold is one of 25 coaches on the watch list, including Dino Babers (Syracuse), Mack Brown (North Carolina), Dave Clawson (Wake Forest), Dabo Swinney (Clemson), Bret Bielema (Illinois), Ryan Day (Ohio State), Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Sonny Dykes (TCU), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Chris Klieman (Kansas State), Steve Sarkisian (Texas), Willie Fritz (Tulane), Gus Malzahn (UCF), Jeff Traylor (UTSA), Kane Wommack (South Alabama), Chip Kelly (UCLA), Dan Lanning (Oregon), Lincoln Riley (USC), Kyle Whittingham (Utah), Josh Heupel (Tennessee), Lane Kiffin (Ole Miss), Nick Saban (Alabama), Kirby Smart (Georgia) and Mark Stoops (Kentucky).

Leipold, now in his second year at Kansas, has guided the Jayhawks to their best start of the season since 2009, while Kansas was previously ranked in the Associated Press Top-25 poll and USA Today Coaches Poll for the first time since 2009.

Leipold was also selected as a CBS Sports Midseason Coach of the Year, alongside Tennessee’s Josh Heupel and Illinois’ Bret Bielema.

Leipold has Kansas ranked in the top-20 nationally in numerous statistical categories, including a Big 12-leading 39 touchdowns with a scoring offense that ranks 19th nationally, averaging 39.3 points per game. Kansas also ranks fourth in the country in team passing efficiency and 10th in passing yards per completion, while ranking 22nd in the country in rushing offense, averaging 208.0 yards per game on the ground. The Jayhawks sit atop the Big 12 and rank sixth in the country in third down conversion percentage at 53.8 percent.

Kansas’ exciting start to the season drew national attention, as Kansas hosted ESPN’s College GameDay for the first time on October 8, when the No. 19 Jayhawks played host to No. 17 TCU.

Now in its 37th year, the Coach of the Year award winner will be announced live from Houston’s Post Oak Hotel on Wednesday, January 11, 2023. The award is voted on by the National Sports Media Association, current NCAA College football coaches, former Coach of the Year Award winners, the Bryant Awards’ Executive Leadership Team, and the Bryant family. The award is one of the only college coaching honors selected after all postseason bowl games and the National Championship have been played.

For more information on the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award, including past recipients and more, click here.