Former USC coach Lane Kiffin was a finalist but did not win the Broyles Award, presented to college football's top assistant coach.
That recognition went to Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman.
But Kiffin, Alabama's offensive coordinator, scored points with his humor during a speech in Little Rock, Ark., before the winner was announced.
Kiffin has helped lead Alabama to a College Football Playoff semifinal against Ohio State.
Kiffin said Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban, "took a chance on me when a lot of people wouldn't do it and he has been phenomenal to me throughout the entire year."
Kiffin then went on to joke about the disparity in his and Saban's heights when they are shown on the sideline during television broadcasts.
"This is why he doesn't let me talk to the media," Kiffin said.
Kiffin then joked about inquiries he receives concerning what Saban says to him on the sideline.