West Virginia football coach Bill Stewart is one of 20 coaches selected to the Bryant Watch List for the 2009 College Football Coach of the Year, announced tonight by the Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards committee of the American Heart Association.

Entering the season unranked in every major poll, Stewart has led the Mountaineers to a 6-1 record, including an unblemished 2-0 mark in the Big East. WVU currently sits at No. 21 in the Bowl Championship Series standings.

Stewart owns the school’s best coaching record through 21 games, compiling a 16-5 mark (.762 winning percentage). He coached the Mountaineers to a 9-4 finish in his first season in 2008, including a 31-30 victory over North Carolina in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C.

In 2009, Stewart has led a unit that ranks in the top 25 in four different categories—rushing defense (ninth), net punting (14th), rushing offense (23rd) and passing efficiency (23rd). WVU also ranks first in the Big East in rushing offense and net punting.

Bryant College Football Coach of the Year finalists will be announced later in December and attend an awards dinner in Houston on Jan. 14, 2010. The winner will be announced live that evening. The winner of the Bryant College Football Coach of the Year is voted on by members of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and is the only college coaching award voted on after all bowl games are played.

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.heart.org/bryantawards