Ohio State head coach Ryan Day was one of 17 coaches named to the preseason watch list for the Dodd Trophy on Tuesday afternoon.
Named for legendary Georgia Tech head coach Bobby Dodd, the Dodd Trophy is given annually to the Football Bowl Subdivision coach whose program “enjoys success on the gridiron while stressing the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity.”
This year's watch list was created by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and takes into consideration each program’s graduation and academic progress rates, commitment to service and charity in the community and projected success for the upcoming season.
"The Dodd Trophy is the most coveted coach of the year award because it looks beyond just the results on the field and measures the overall impact these coaches have had on their players, universities and communities. This was never more pivotal than last season,” Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation chairman Jim Terry said in a statement. “Each of these coaches showed unwavering commitment to the award's three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, despite all of the obstacles and challenges they had to overcome this past year in the face of the pandemic.”
Now entering his third full season as head coach, Day has gone 23-2 overall and led the Buckeyes to two straight Big Ten titles and a pair of appearances in the College Football Playoff, including a trip to the national championship last fall. He is looking to become just the second coach in school history to win the award, as Jim Tressel won took home the honor after guiding Ohio State to a win over Miami (Fla.) in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl national championship.
Other Big Ten coaches on the preseason watch list include Indiana’s Tom Allen, Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, Penn State’s James Franklin and Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst. Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald won the award in 2020 and is not eligible to win the award for the next two seasons, meanwhile.
"These coaches are coming off one of the most unprecedented and trying seasons in the history of college football, but found a way to persevere in the face of adversity," Peach Bowl CEO and president Gary Stokan said. "They have consistently found success no matter the circumstances and we look forward to seeing how they lead their teams as we return to a sense of normalcy this season."
The updated watch list – whether it is adding to or narrowing the field – will be released this fall. A panel consisting of previous winners, national media and members of the Dodd family and College Football Hall of Fame will then announce the winner during the week of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, which takes place on Dec. 30.
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