Alabama head football coach Nick Saban was selected as one of seven finalists for the Paul “Bear” Bryant Collegiate Coach of the Year Award, The American Heart Association (AHA) and title sponsor Marathon Oil Corporation announced Thursday.

Saban, who won the Bryant Award in 2003, led the Crimson Tide to a 12-1 record this season, an SEC Championship and the No. 2 spot in the College Football Playoff final rankings. His defense has once again been one of the best in the country, ranking first nationally in rushing defense (74.0 yards per game), second in total defense (258.2 yards per game), third in scoring defense (14.4 ppg) and fourth in pass efficiency defense. The Tide’s balanced offense has particularly excelled in the run game, as Heisman Trophy-winning running back Derrick Henry leads the nation in rushing touchdowns (23) and rushing yards (1,986).

This is the eighth straight season UA has won at least 10 games under Saban and fifth straight with at least 11 wins. The Tide also became the first team in 17 years to win back-to-back SEC Championships.

As finalists, these coaches join an elite group of men recognized for their outstanding leadership in the college football arena. Finalists will attend the 30th anniversary awards banquet on Jan. 13, 2016, at the Hilton Americas Houston, where the winner will be announced live. The American Heart Association’s Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award is the only college coaching honor determined after all bowl games are concluded and is voted on by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA).

Since 1986, the Bryant Awards have raised more than $6 million for the American Heart Association to fund research, advocacy and educational programs across the country aimed at the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Bryant himself died of a heart attack in 1983. The 2016 event marks the 30th anniversary of the American Heart Association’s involvement.