O’Brien honored yet again

PARK RIDGE, Ill. – Penn State football coach Bill O’Brien was named the 2012-13 Big Ten Men’s Coach of the Year on the Big Ten Awards Show following an outstanding first campaign for the Nittany Lions.

Named Penn State’s 15th head football coach on Jan. 6, 2012, O’Brien led the Nittany Lions to victories in eight of their final 10 games, earning an 8-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in the Big Ten, with the only losses coming to division winners Ohio State and Nebraska. Penn State capped the season with a 24-21 overtime victory over eventual Big Ten champion Wisconsin on senior day. O’Brien’s eight wins are the most by a first-year Penn State coach in the 126 years of the program.

Penn State reeled off five consecutive victories after an 0-2 start as O’Brien tied George Hoskins (1892) and Dick Harlow (1915) for the most consecutive wins by a first-year Nittany Lion coach. Penn State also won its initial three Big Ten road games, making O’Brien just the fifth Big Ten coach since 1950 to win his first three conference away contests.

O’Brien previously was named Bear Bryant Coach of the Year, as well as the Maxwell Football Club and ESPN Coach of the Year. He also was a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year and the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year by the Football Writers Association of America.

O’Brien was named the Big Ten’s Dave McClain Coach of the Year (media) and Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year (coaches). The Brown University graduate was just the seventh first-year head coach to earn the Big Ten-Dave McClain Coach of the Year in the 41 years it has been awarded.

Nittany Lion wrestling coach Cael Sanderson also was up for the award. Penn State women’s soccer coach Erica Walsh was one of four finalists for the Big Ten Women’s Coach of the Year.

Indiana track and field athlete Derek Drouin was named the Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year, while Minnesota ice hockey player Amanda Kessel received the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year. Penn State wrestler Ed Ruth and Lady Lion soccer player Christine Nairn were among the finalists for those awards.