ATHENS —— Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was named today as one of five finalists for the 2022 Dodd Trophy, presented by PNC. The finalists were announced today by officials from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Peach Bowl, Inc., in Atlanta.


Finalists include five of the nation’s top coaches in college football who embody the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, both on and off the field.  They are as follows:

Kirby Smart, Georgia

Willie Fritz, Tulane

Chris Klieman, Kansas State

Kyle Whittingham, Utah


Because The Dodd Trophy represents more than just a coach’s performance on the field, first-year coaches, who have not had a full season to establish their own impact on their programs’ Academic Progress Rate (APR) and the local community, are not eligible to win.


This year’s finalists represent five different conferences, including the AAC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12. These coaches have combined for a 57-8 record so far this season and have collectively won 410 games and eight FBS conference championships throughout their careers.


This marks Kirby Smart’s third selection as a finalist (2017, 2018), while Jim Harbaugh (2021) and Kyle Whittingham (2019 winner) were named finalists for a second time in their careers. Willie Fritz and Chris Klieman are both making their first appearance on the finalist list.


Three of the five finalists – Fritz (AAC), Harbaugh (Big Ten) and Smart (SEC) – won their respective conference’s Coach of the Year awards for this season and all five coaches won their conference championships earlier this month.


“These five coaches have found a way to set themselves apart by guiding their programs to historic seasons during another exhilarating year of college football,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “Each of these men have left a significant mark on their respective universities, football programs and players, both on and off the gridiron, and truly embody all that this award stands for.”


“The Dodd Trophy is the sport’s most coveted coach of the year award because it fully takes into account what it means to be a coach, aside from just wins and losses,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO & President. “These five finalists not only succeeded on the football field this year, but also in the classroom and throughout their communities. It’s this mindset that sets our award apart, and why we only consider coaches who have been at their current programs long enough to truly establish their own foundation of success, as it relates to academics and community involvement.”


Finalists were selected by a panel consisting of all previous winners, national media, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member. The winner of the 2022 Dodd Trophy will be announced in Atlanta during bowl week at this year’s College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.


Georgia is 13-0 on the season and has been the consensus No. 1 team in the national polls since mid-November.  The Bulldogs, 2022 SEC Champions, continue their quest for a second straight national title when they face No. 4 seed Ohio State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl CFP Semifinal on Dec. 31 at 8:00 p.m. in Atlanta.