O’Brien named Big Ten Men’s Coach of the Year

UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State football coach Bill O’Brien has been named the 2012-13 Big Ten Men’s Coach of the Year following an outstanding first campaign for the Nittany Lions.

O’Brien was previously named the 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 coach to earn the Big Ten-Dave McClain Coach of the Year in the 41 years it has been awarded.

Named Penn State’s 15th football coach on January 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 off 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 produced 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 engineered a dynamic, fast-paced offense that featured the Big Ten’s passing leader Matt McGloin, top receiver Allen Robinson and a running back Zach Zwinak, who gained 100 yards six times in eight Big Ten games and 1,000 yards for the season. Penn State led the Big Ten in total offense in conference games with 437 yards per game and was second in scoring offense (32.6 ppg) and second in pass offense (283.1 ypg) against Big Ten foes during the 2012 season.

Penn State gained more than 500 yards of total offense three times in conference play, topped by 546 yards against Indiana, its highest total against a Big Ten foe since 2008.

O’Brien helped Penn State earn two All-Americans with Jordan Hill and Michael Mauti and one national award winner with Matt McGloin’s Burlsworth Trophy. The team also boasted six first-team All-Big Ten selections and three individual conference award winners, which are as follows:

Michael Mauti, Big Ten Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year

Allen Robinson, Big Ten Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year

Deion Barnes, Thompson-Randle El Big Ten Freshman of the Year