Malzahn Receives Bear Bryant Award

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- When people in Alabama talk about Paul "Bear" Bryant they are almost certainly referring to the University on Alabama. Well, fans of the Crimson Tide will have to live with the head coach of their biggest rival being mentioned alongside him; at least for the time being.

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn was named the Paul "Bear" Bryant College Coach of the Year on Wednesday night at a ceremony in Houston. Malzahn led the Tigers to an appearance in the national championship game just one year after the team went 3-9.

Despite losing the BCS title game to Florida State, the accomplishments of a team that went winless in the Southeastern Conference a year ago were not lost on their coach.

"We're still hurting over the fact that we were close to winning the national championship and got beat," Malzahn said. "But if you can remove yourself from that it was a lot of fun, our players came a long way."

Malzahn, who is from Arkansas like Bryant, beat out Baylor's Art Briles, David Bailiff of Rice, Michigan State's Mark Dantonio and David Shaw of Stanford for the award.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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