Steve Spurrier, Dabo Swinney (right) [Getty]
Houston, TX (WLTX) -- South Carolina Football Coach Steve Spurrier and Clemson Football Coach Dabo Swinney each made the watch list for the 2011 Bryant Coach of the Year.
The annual award was announced by the 2012 Marathon Oil Corporation Paul "Bear" Bryant Awards committee of the American Heart Association.
The Palmetto State coaches join the ranks of 18 other head coaches from across the nation.
Swinney, riding Clemson's No. 5 place on the BCS Standings is joined by only one other coach from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer.
Spurrier is, of course, joined by the coaches of the top two programs in the nation that also happen to be from the SEC: No. 1 LSU's Les Miles and No. 2 Alabama's Nick Saban. Also representing the SEC is No. 10 Arkansas's Bobby Petrino.
Organizers plan to announce a finalists' list in December, comprised of five to 10 coaches. Those finalists will be invited to attend an awards dinner at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Downtown in Houston, TX on Jan. 19, 2012.
The award is given after all postseason games have been completed, to give voters the most information about each head coach.
According to officials, January's event will also recognize former University of Iowa Head Football Coach Hayden Fry, who will receive the Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award. They say the award recognizes excellence in coaching on and off the field during a career, allowing recipients to take their place in history alongside legends such as Paul "Bear" Bryant.
Recent Lifetime Achievement recipients include Barry Switzer, Glenn "Bo" Schembechler, and Bobby Bowden.
Bryant Coach of the Year Watch List (alphabetical order):
• Frank Beamer - Virginia Tech University
• Bret Bielema - University of Wisconsin
• Mark Dantonio - Michigan State University
• Mike Gundy - Oklahoma State University
• Brady Hoke - University of Michigan
• Mark Hudspeth - University of Louisiana
• Chip Kelly - University of Oregon
• Les Miles - Louisiana State University
• Joe Paterno - Penn State University
• Bo Pelini - University of Nebraska
• Chris Petersen - Boise State University
• Bobby Petrino - University of Arkansas
• Nick Saban - University of Alabama
• David Shaw - Stanford University
• Bill Snyder - Kansas State University
• Steve Spurrier - University of South Carolina
• Bob Stoops - University of Oklahoma
• Kevin Sumlin - University of Houston
• Dabo Swinney - Clemson University
• Tommy Tuberville - Texas Tech University
Officials with the organization ended the release with:
The Bryant Awards honor excellence in coaching while raising funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the nation's No. 1 and No. 3 killers. Bryant himself suffered a heart attack prior to his death in 1983. Funds raised benefit research, community education and outreach programs of the AHA. For more information, or to purchase tickets or a table for the event, contact Kristin Rodriguez at 713-610-5026 or visit www.bryantawards.com.