The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award was established in 1976 to honor the Division I college football coach whose programs represent quality on and off the field. The Bobby Dodd Award honors the coach of a team which enjoys a successful season on the gridiron while stressing the importance of academic excellence and sense of duty to return something back to the community, as Coach Dodd did during his 22 seasons as the head football coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

The presentation is unique to that of other college coach's awards in that the winner is honored on his own campus, surrounded by his colleagues, friends and the students. Some members of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation travel each February or early March to the recipient's school to host a reception and ceremony honoring the winning coach. Also distinct from other awards, the winning coach is presented with an award certificate, a granite trophy replica of Coach Bobby Dodd, and a scholarship check in the amount of $10,000 for the University.

Patrons of the foundation are, The Coca-Cola Company, Cox Enterprises, Delta Air Lines, George W. Mathews Jr., Georgia Power Company, and SunTrust Bank. A selection committee of college football experts names the recipient of the award each year based on criteria which goes beyond mere talent and winning. Although a winning record is necessary for selection qualification, the recipient must excel in other areas. The award certificate that is presented to the winner states:

  "In recognition of a higher and more noble aspect of college coaching...a style that emphasizes something more than winning the game...a belief that the game of football should be kept in perspective with college life in general."