Charlie Strong Named To Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach Of The Year Watch List

USF Head Coach Charlie Strong has been named to the watch list for the 2017 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award. The accomplishment comes as the first-year head coach led USF to a 6-0 start over the weekend, which equals the best in program history.

The No. 16/13-ranked Bulls (6-0; 3-0 American) come in at their highest ranking since 2008 and hold the nation’s longest active win streak in 11 games. USF is tied with Oregon (2011-12) for the nation leading streak of 23 games scoring 30-plus points.

Strong joins 20 others on the watch list: Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Dave Doeren (N.C. State), James Franklin (Penn State), Scott Frost (UCF), 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), Kirby Smart (Georgia) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson).

South Florida head coach Charlie Strong talks with Trevon Sands (28) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against East Carolina in Greenville, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. Photo: AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker.

During his time at USF so far, Strong has led the Bulls to stand seventh in scoring offense (42.8 ppg), 13th in total offense (492.0 ypg) and eighth in rushing offense (293.0 ypg) while leading the nation with a 2.17 turnover margin (+13).

In its 32nd year, the American Heart Association’s Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards are held in memory of Coach Bryant. The event is held annually in Houston and honors college football coaches achieving excellence on and off the field.

The Coach of the Year Award is voted by the National Sports Media Association and is announced live at the event.

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Allison Leslie is a University of South Florida graduate with a bachelors degree in Mass Communications. She joined Genesis in 2016. With a passion for sports, Allison has interned with 620 WDAE, Pewter Report, Trifecta Team: St. Petersburg Bowl, Bullscast, and many other publications. Being a native to the Bay Area, she has followed and supported Tampa Bay teams her whole life.