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Heupel, Kelly, Saban are finalists for AP coach of year

UCF’s Josh Heupel, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly and Alabama’s Nick Saban are the finalists for The Associated Press national college football coach of the year after leading their teams to unbeaten regular seasons.

The winner will be announced Monday at noon EST.

Heupel guided No. 7 Central Florida (12-0) to a second consecutive unbeaten season. The American Athletic Conference champions will play No. 11 LSU in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1. Kelly led the third-ranked Fighting Irish (12-0) to its first College Football Playoff appearance. The Irish play No. 2 Clemson in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29. Saban has No. 1 Alabama (13-0) in the playoff for the fifth consecutive season. The Crimson Tide won the Southeastern Conference and face No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 29.

The AP coach of the year was established in 1998. Saban is one of two coaches to win the award twice, along with Gary Patterson of TCU. Saban was coach of the year with LSU in 2003 and with Alabama in 2008.

Kelly won coach of the year in 2012, the last time he led Notre Dame to a 12-0 season.

Last year’s winner was Scott Frost of UCF. No school has ever had different coaches win the award in consecutive seasons.

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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Joel Rodgers

Joel Rodgers joined RealShreveport.com in January 2018 as a reporter/journalist. Prior to joining our team, Joel spent the previous 5 years as a morning show reporter, entertainment reporter, and sports reporter for a local television station. At 6’5”, he's the tallest reporter in the history of Shreveport, but it’s more than just his height that makes this Shreveport native stand out. His editing skills combined with his love for storytelling makes for a creative and talented addition to the RealShreveport team. After attending and graduating from Evangel Christian Academy, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern State University. Joel is very active in the Shreveport community having won several competitions in recent years. In 2017, he danced his way to victory in the annual Susan G. Komen event, “Dancing for the Cure." He’s also won the “Mudbug Madness” Crawfish eating contest in back-to-back years and was named the top celebrity chef at the “Louisiana Food Prize” cooking competition. If you have a story idea, news tip, or just want to say "hey" - you can do so by emailing Joel Rodgers at jrodgers@realshreveport.com

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