Kansas football head coach Lance Leipold was one of 26 college football coaches named to the American Heart Association’s 2023 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award watch list.
This marks the second consecutive season in which Leipold has been up for the award.
Now in its 38th year, the award is given each January to a head coach for their “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,” according to the news release from the American Heart Association.
Leipold is one of three Big 12 coaches named to the watch list along with Texas’ Steve Sarkisian and Oklahoma’s Brent Venables.
He’s led the Jayhawks to a 5-2 record this season with sights set on back-to-back bowl game appearances if the team can secure at least a sixth win among their remaining five games.
Under Leipold’s guidance, the team has started out 4-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time in more than a century. The Jayhawks have also appeared in the Associated Press’ Top 25 Poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll twice so far this year.
Although it’s unlikely Leipold will win the award among some of his peers on the watch list, the fact that he’s a nominee alongside some of the best, most established coaches in college football is yet another sign of how remarkable of a job he’s done since arriving in Lawrence.
He’s not just turned the Kansas football program around, he’s taken it to new heights – and that incredible feat is not going unnoticed by the college football world
The award winner will be announced live Jan. 10, 2024, during an awards ceremony presented by Marathon Oil. The winner is voted on by the National Sports Media Association, the Bryant Awards’ Executive Leadership Team, and the Bryant Family.