When Bill O’Brien took over at Penn State a year ago, it wasn’t under the circumstances he had dreamed of. But nevertheless, O’Brien leaped in-front of a speeding train and helped the Nittany Lions earn and eight win season and begin their road to redemption. For his efforts, the Penn State head coach has been honored yet again this year with another head coaching award.
This time it’s the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year award.
“This is a huge honor for the Penn State program, for a great group of players and a great coaching staff,” O’Brien said in a statement. “The other coaches here are phenomenal coaches who have done this for a long time. I’ve only done this for a year. It shows what type of coaching staff and the type of players we had this year. It is a program award.”
O’Brien becomes the second Penn State head coach to win the award since Joe Paterno took home the hardware in the award’s first year back in 1986. In winning the award, O’Brien has joined the likes of Nick Saban, Lloyd Carr, Bob Stoops and Lou Holtz as a recipient of the award and he’s doing so in his first season.
In addition to winning the Bear Bryant award, O’Brien has taken home Coach of the Year honors from the Big Ten as well as the Maxwell Club. Many thought O’Brien would use the momentum to bolt to the NFL, as his name was floated in numerous coaching searches, however he elected to stay at Penn State and see his mission through to the end.