Blair Hall to welcome O’Brien

From Mirror reports

Penn State football coach Bill O’Brien will be the keynote speaker at the 2014 Blair County Sports Hall of Fame banquet.

The event will take place Saturday, April 26 at the Blair County Convention Center.

O’Brien joins a lengthy list of some of the biggest names in sports to have graced the Hall of Fame’s dais over the years, including Joe Paterno (1987), Terry Bradshaw (1989), Bob Knight (1992), Dick Vitale (1994), Joe Theismann (1996), Mary Lou Retton (1998), Bobby Bowden (2002), Jim Boeheim (2004), Hines Ward (2008), Chris Fowler (2010) and, at the Hall of Fame’s 25th anniversary in 2012, Ben Roethlisberger.

“We’re extremely pleased to welcome Bill and recognize the outstanding job he’s done at Penn State,” Neil Rudel, president of the local Hall of Fame, said. “We’ve been very fortunate to have had many guest speakers who have made their mark nationally, and in less than two years, Bill O’Brien has impressed the sports world with his coaching, leadership and ability to handle adversity.

“We look forward to a great night.”

O’Brien, 44, led the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record in 2012, including eight-straight wins, and was the 2012 Bear Bryant Coach of the Year, ESPN Coach of the Year and the Maxwell Football Club Collegiate Coach of the Year.

Despite operating with 20-plus fewer scholarships than its opponents, Penn State is 5-3 this season heading into Saturday’s game at Minnesota (noon, ESPN2).

A 1992 graduate of Brown and native of Andover, Mass., O’Brien has been in coaching 20 seasons. Before succeeding Paterno, O’Brien spent the previous five seasons with the New England Patriots and was instrumental in helping the Pats to a pair of Super Bowl appearances, including as offensive coordinator in 2011.

O’Brien and his wife, Colleen, have two sons, Jack (10) and Michael (7).

Set for induction into the Hall of Fame include national tennis champion Karen (Brumbaugh) Gallagher, former Lehigh wrestler Jason Kutz, marathon runner Dave Patterson, Golden Gloves champion Tom Wilt and former Fordham basketball and baseball standout Len Zandy, who will be honored posthumously.

The team inductee will be the 1966-67 Bishop Guilfoyle High School boys basketball team, which captured the Pennsylvania Catholic Interscholastic Athletic Association championship.

Pittsburgh sportscaster Stan Savran returns as the master of ceremonies, and the Hall of Fame will also recognize Dave Andrews, its outgoing president.

Tickets cost $75 or $750 for a table of 10 if paid before Jan. 1 and $85 ($850 for table of 10) after that. Checks can be made payable to the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 162, Altoona, Pa. 16603.

For more ticket information, call 515-3527.