Auburn's Gus Malzahn was named the Associated Press' coach of the year Monday.
Under Malzahn, the Tigers rebounded from a 3-9 season in 2012 to playing for the BCS Championship in January.
No. 2 Auburn is 12-1 this season and taking on No. 1 Florida State for the national title on Jan. 6.
Malzahn earned 33 votes in the AP balloting. Duke's David Cutcliffe had 17 votes after leading Duke (10-3) to its first 10-win season. Florida State's Jimbo Fisher and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio each received three votes.
Malzahn is the second Auburn coach to win the award since Tommy Tuberville in 2004. The AP started awarding coach of the year in 1998. Malzahn is also the second coach to win the honor in his first season. The other is Maryland's Ralph Friedgen in 2001.
An SEC coach has won the award five times.
The Tigers' nine-game improvement over last year is the best ever. The closest is Hawaii's 8 1/2-game turnaround from 1999 to 2000.
Auburn's biggest win of the year was knocking off No. 1 Alabama in the Iron Bowl. The Tigers followed that by beating Missouri for the SEC championship. Earlier in the season, the Tigers scored a big upset of then-No. 7 Texas A&M, a 45-41 road victory.