UCF Josh Heupel, Notre Dame Brian Kelly and Alabama Nick Saban are the finalists of The Associated Press National Football Football Coach of the Year Award after leading their teams to unbeaten regular seasons.
The winner will be announced Monday. 19659002] Heupel guided No. 7 Central Florida (12-0) to a second consecutive undefeated season. The American Athletic Conference Masters will play No. 11 LSU in PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on January 1. Kelly led the third ranked Fighting Irish (12-0) to his first College Football Playoff appearance. Irish plays No. 2 Clemson in Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic January 29th. Saban has No. 1 Alabama (13-0) in the final game for the fifth season in a row. Crimson Tide won the southeastern conference and face No. 4 Oklahoma in Capital One Orange Bowl on January 29th.
This year’s AP Coach of Year Award was founded in 1998. Saban is one of two coaches to win twice, together with Gary Patterson from TCU. Saban was the year’s coach with LSU 2003 and with Alabama in 2008.
Kelly won this year’s award in 2012, last time he led Notre Dame to a 12-0 season.
Last year’s winner was Scott Frost of UCF. No school has ever had different coaches win the prize in subsequent seasons.