MADISON, Wis. -- After guiding Wisconsin to a double-digit win total for the third-consecutive season -- a first for the Badgers' program -- UW head coach Bret Bielema has been named a finalist for the Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year Award.
Bielema, who also was a finalist in his first season at the helm of the UW program in 2006, is one of 10 candidates for the award. The other finalists are Art Briles (Baylor), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Brady Hoke (Michigan), Les Miles (LSU), Nick Saban (Alabama), David Shaw (Stanford), Bill Snyder (Kansas State), Kevin Sumlin (Houston) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson).
The Badgers have amassed an 11-2 record this season while securing a second-consecutive Big Ten title -- by virtue of winning the league's first-ever championship game -- and will make their second-straight Rose Bowl appearance.
Under Bielema's watch, UW has extended its school-record bowl streak to 10 seasons, the second-longest active streak in the Big Ten and tied for the ninth-longest streak in the country.
Bielema's career winning percentage of .769 (60-18) is the fourth-best in the country among FBS coaches with at least five seasons of experience, and UW's winning percentage over that span ranks second in the Big Ten and ninth in the country.
Wisconsin is 60-18 (.769), including 33-15 (.688) in Big Ten games, during Bielema's tenure. Despite coaching just six seasons, Bielema already ranks third in school history in career victories.
This season, Wisconsin ranks No. 4 nationally in scoring offense and No. 6 nationally in scoring defense heading into the bowl season. The Badgers also have seen six players earn All-America recognition this season, including Heisman Trophy and Doak Walker Award finalist Montee Ball.
The coach of the year award will be presented as part of the 2011 Paul "Bear" Bryant Awards ceremony in Houston on Jan. 19. Also part of the event is the recognition of former Iowa head coach Hayden Fry as the recipient of the Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bielema played under Fry at Iowa from 1989 to 1992, going from a walk-on defensive lineman to a team co-captain as a senior, and then spent five seasons on Fry's coaching staff with the Hawkeyes.