It’s mid-summer, which means it’s time to kick off the annual tradition of pre-season watch lists for college football awards.
Earlier today, the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation released its watch list for the 2023 Dodd Trophy, which included Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and 20 others.
Per their press release, the Dodd Trophy is awarded to the coach whose program best exemplifies a combination of on-field and academic success, as well as a commitment to community service. The Dodd Trophy, named for legendary Georgia Tech coach Bobby Dodd, has been awarded each year since 1976 to the coach whose program best adheres to Dodd’s pillars of “scholarship, leadership, and integrity.”
Eligibility for the Dodd Trophy is only granted to coaches that have been at their current institution for at least two years, and whose program has a minimum academic progress rate (APR) of 980 (APR is determined by the amount of players in a program that finish an academic term academically eligible). The Dodd Trophy winner is determined in part by taking into account a program’s graduation success rate (GSR) and APR, as well as team performance during a given season.
Harbaugh is no stranger to personal awards, as his work in recent years earned him the Associated Press’s College Football Coach of the Year in 2021, and the Big Ten’s Coach of the Year in 2022. Additionally, Harbaugh was included on last year’s preseason watch list and was one of five finalists for the Dodd Trophy, but he has yet to win the award during his time at Michigan.
Harbaugh is joined on the watch list by several notable coaches, such as Nick Saban (Alabama) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson), as well as fellow Big Ten coaches Ryan Day (Ohio State), Mel Tucker (Michigan State), P.J. Fleck (Minnesota), and Kirk Ferentz (Iowa). Tulane head coach Willie Fritz was the Dodd Trophy recipient last year, while Bo Schembechler and Lloyd Carr are the only two Michigan head coaches to take home the honor, in 1977 and 2007, respectively.