News Release

Former Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops to receive Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award

Annual award celebrates gridiron achievement and raises funds for lifesaving work of the American Heart Association

Grant and Award Announcement

American Heart Association

HOUSTON, October 12, 2022 – The American Heart Association’s Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards is pleased to honor coaching legend Bob Stoops with the 2022 Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston. The honor is given annually and recognizes college football’s finest coaches, celebrating their outstanding achievements and extraordinary contributions. The Lifetime Achievement Award is one of four national coaching honors given during the Bryant Awards Ceremony, presented this year by Marathon Oil, on January 11, 2023, in Houston, Texas. 

The American Heart Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives, and the Bryant family present this award annually to celebrate Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s legacy and raise awareness and critical funds for research to eradicate cardiovascular disease and stroke, the leading causes of death globally. The football coaching legend died from a heart attack in 1983, just 28 days after his final victory and retirement.

The Lifetime Achievement Award specifically honors a coach for their outstanding career accomplishments both on and off the field. Now in its 37th year, The Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award is given based on three areas of criteria as determined by the Bryant family and the National Sports Media Association:

  • Integrity both on and off the field above reproach,
  • Leadership, dedication and developing the character, integrity and sportsmanship of young people on and off the football field, and
  • Inspiration and instruction in the development of skills of the game and physical fitness in their players.

Stoops joins a list of football coaching legends that includes John Robinson (2022), Howard Schnellenberger (2021), Bill Snyder (2020), Frank Beamer (2019) among those honored most recently.

In total, four coaches will be recognized at the Bryant Awards Ceremony presented live on January 11, 2023. In addition to Lifetime Achievement, awards will be bestowed for Heart of a Champion, Fan Vote Favorite, and the 2022 Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards Coach of the Year, voted on by the National Sports Media Association, current NCAA College football coaches, former Coach of the Year Award winners, the Bryant Awards’ Executive Leadership Team and the Bryant family.

 “It is an honor to receive the Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Heart Association,” said Stoops. “I have spent my career dedicated to developing players both on and off the field. To be named amongst the coaches that have come before me that have made a legacy in college football is a distinction that I do not take for granted.”

Bob Stoops is best known for his time as head coach of the University of Oklahoma (1999-2016) where he won the Orange Bowl with the Sooners and earned a consensus National Championship in 2000. He led the Sooners to the most conference championships of any Big XII team and in Oklahoma history as the program’s winningest coach. Stoops was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2021.

Stoops grew up in Youngstown, Ohio where he played football all throughout high school. He continued his football career as a four-year starter as a defensive back for the University of Iowa. He began his coaching career as a volunteer coach and graduate student in the Iowa Hawkeyes program.

In 1988, he began his assistant coaching career at Kent State University. The following year, he joined the coaching staff at Kansas State University where he advanced his career by becoming co-defensive coordinator (1991) and assistant head coach (1995). In 1996, he joined University of Florida’s coaching staff where he was a part of the Gators' national championship win over Florida State in the 1997 Sugar Bowl.

Fans can follow the action at or or the hashtag #BryantAwards. To attend the exclusive, VIP experience, contact or visit


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

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