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Alamo Bowl 2011: Baylor Coach Art Briles Among 10 Finalists For National Coach Of The Year

The Baylor Bears will be playing in a second straight bowl game this season, their first appearances in the postseason since 1994. the Bears' meteoric rise to relevance has coincided nicely with the the tenure of head coach Art Briles, who in four years helped foster the first Heisman Trophy winner in school history. Unsurprisingly, his work has earned him national recognition, with the American Heart Association announcing Wednesday that Briles is one of 10 finalists for the Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year Award.

Briles was a hot comodity on the coaching carousel before Baylor signed him to a multi-year extension. The Bears head into the Alamo Bowl ranked 12th in the latest BCS Rankings, the team's highest standing in program history. Baylor went 9-3 this season, with highlight wins over Oklahoma, Texas and TCU.

Also nominated for the Bryant Award were Bret Bielema of Wisconsin, Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State, Brady Hoke of Michigan, Les Miles of LSU, Nick Saban of Alabama, David Shaw of Stanford, Bill Snyder of Kansas State, Kevin Sumlin of Houston, and Dabo Swinney of Clemson. The award will be announced on Jan. 19th during the Marathon Oil Corporation Paul "Bear" Bryant Awards held annually to raise funding for heart disease.

For more on the Briles, Robert Griffin III, and the Bears, head over to the SB Nation blog Our Daily Bears.