UGA Football

Smart added to Paul 'Bear' Bryant Award watch list

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. AP

With his team out to a 7-0 start, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has found himself up for a major award.

Smart is one of 20 coaches to be placed on the Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year Award watch list. With an undefeated start to the 2017 season, Smart has guided the Bulldogs to a No. 3 ranking in the AP poll, which is the highest spot the program has been since 2012.

While Smart is in his second season as a head coach, he is no stranger to coaching awards. In 2009, Smart won the Broyles Award, which is handed out to the top assistant coach in the country. That honor is named after former Arkansas head coach and athletics director Frank Broyles.

Before arriving to Georgia, Smart was an assistant at Alabama for nine years, with his final eight as a defensive coordinator. Smart is in his second year as Georgia's head coach.

The finalists for the Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year Award will be announced in December. The winner will be announced live during a ceremony to take place in Houston.

This is the 32nd year for the Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year Award. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney won the award in the previous two seasons. Swinney is once again a nominee for this year's award.

The other 18 coaches joining Smart and Swinney on the watch list are Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Dave Doeren (N.C. State), James Franklin (Penn State), Scott Frost (Central Florida), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Clay Helton (USC), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Mike Leach (Washington State), Rocky Long (San Diego State), Urban Meyer (Ohio State), Mike Norvell (Memphis), Gary Patterson (TCU), Chris Petersen (Washington), Mark Richt (Miami), Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma), Nick Saban (Alabama) and Charlie Strong (South Florida).