BOISE, Idaho For the third time this month, Boise State University head football coach Chris Petersen has been named a finalist for a coach of the year honor.  This time it’s the Paul “Bear” Bryant College Football Coach of the Year award.

            Petersen, who won the award in 2006 following the Broncos’ 13-0 season and victory over the University of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, is one of eight finalists selected by the Bryant Awards committee of the American Heart Association.  Petersen was originally selected to the Bryant award watch list in November, which consisted of 20 head coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly I-A).

            Joining Petersen on the finals list are Mack Brown, University of Texas; Turner Gill, University of Buffalo; Mike Leach, Texas Tech University; Houston Nutt, University of Mississippi; Nick Saban, University of Alabama; Bob Stoops, University of Oklahoma; and Kyle Whittingham, University of Utah.  Petersen, Stoops, Saban and Brown are all former winners of the award. 

            The 2008 winner will be voted on by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) and be named live at an awards dinner benefiting the American Heart Association on Jan. 15 (Thursday) at the Hyatt Regency in Houston.

            Earlier this month Petersen was named a finalist for the Liberty Mutual and Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year awards.

            This year Petersen has guided the Broncos to a No. 9 national ranking, an undefeated 12-0 regular season and an appearance in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23 (Tuesday) against TCU.  In his third year directing the Boise State football program, Petersen’s overall record is 35-3 for a .921 winning percentage.

            While the coach of the year award has been an annual tradition since 1957, the American Heart Association adopted and re-named the award in 1986 to honor former University of Alabama head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant who died of a heart attack in 1983. 

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