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Barry Switzer to Receive Paul 'Bear' Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award

HOUSTON, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Paul Bear Bryant Awards committee of the American Heart Association has announced that former University of Oklahoma Head Coach Barry Switzer has been named the 2009 winner of its' Lifetime Achievement Award.

Switzer will be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Paul Bear Bryant College Football Coaching Awards Dinner Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Houston. The award recognizes excellence in coaching on and off the field during a career, allowing recipients to take their place in history alongside legends such as Bryant. Recent Lifetime Achievement recipients include Tom Osborne, Glenn "Bo" Schembechler, Jack Pardee and Lou Holtz.

Switzer became the head coach at Oklahoma in 1973, leading the team to undefeated seasons that year and the next. Oklahoma won national championships in 1974, 1975 and 1985 under Switzer's leadership. The team won or shared in the Big 8 championship every year from 1973 to 1980. During his sixteen years as head coach at Oklahoma, his teams won eight of the thirteen post-season bowl games they played. Switzer was known as an outstanding recruiter of high school talent; 54 of his players were selected as All-Americans. In 1978, Billy Sims won the Heisman Trophy. Switzer left Oklahoma with one of the highest winning percentages of any college football coach in history. His overall record was 157-29-4.

Switzer went on to coach at the professional level with the Dallas Cowboys where he won a Super Bowl in 1995. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2004, he received the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award. In August 2007, XMSN added Switzer as a part of the channel's expanded college sports coverage.

The Paul Bear Bryant Awards honor excellence in coaching while raising funds to fight heart disease and stroke. Bryant himself suffered a heart attack prior to his death in 1983. Funds raised benefit research, community education and outreach programs of the Association. For more information on the Bryant Awards, or to purchase tickets or a table for the event, visit or call 713-610-5000.

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association today is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart diseases and stroke. These diseases, America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, and all other cardiovascular diseases, claim nearly 870,000 lives a year. In fiscal year 2006-07 the association invested more than $554 million in research, professional and public education, advocacy and community service programs to help all Americans live longer, healthier lives. To learn more, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit

SOURCE American Heart Association
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