Jan. 14, 2015
HOUSTON - Following a 12-2 season that culminated with victories in both the 2014 Sports Authority Mountain West Football Championship and the 2014 VIZIO Fiesta Bowl, Boise State football head coach Bryan Harsin was honored by the American Heart Association as a finalist for the Paul "Bear" Bryant National Coach of the Year Award, Wednesday.
At an awards banquet at the Hilton Americas in downtown Houston, the first-year Bronco head coach was recognized alongside fellow finalists Gary Patterson (TCU) and Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss), and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Jimmy Johnson.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson was ultimately named the Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year.
In just his first season at his alma mater, Harsin was named a finalist for a number of awards, including the Bear Bryant Award, the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award and the Dodd Trophy, given annually by the Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year Foundation.
He was also named the nation's top first-year head coach by the Football Writers Association of America earlier Wednesday. Boise State has placed each of its last two coaches on the FWAA list, as Chris Petersen garnered the accolade following the 2006 season.
The team's 28-14 victory over Fresno State in the MW Championship Game marked Boise State's first outright conference title since joining the league in 2011, and the first outright conference championship overall since 2009.
The Broncos' 38-30 win over 10th-ranked Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl was the school's third victory in the game in the last nine seasons. Harsin was also part of the previous two, serving as offensive coordinator.
Harsin, who also played for the Broncos from 1995-99, and served as an assistant from 2001-10, returned to Boise State in 2014 after a two-year stint at Texas as co-offensive coordinator (2011-12) and one year as head coach at Arkansas State (2013).
Boise State, which concluded 2014 ranked No. 16 in both the Associated Press and Amway Coaches Polls, will carry the nation's second-longest winning streak into the 2015 season, having won each of its last nine games.