Joining the likes of Nick Saban, Lou Holtz and Joe Paterno, coach Bill O'Brien has won the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award.
O'Brien, who has already been named the Maxwell Football Club Coach of the Year and AT&T ESPN Coach of the Year, went 8-4 in his first season as head coach at Penn State.
The Bear Bryant award is offered to the coach who best possesses Bryant's "ability to inspire, patience to teach, and gift of leadership," according to its website. Paterno won the award in its inaugural season in 1986, after an undefeated championship season.
The Lions’ coach has been heralded for retaining the large majority of his team after the announcement of unprecedented NCAA sanctions in July and finishing with eight wins in the team’s last 10 games after an 0-2 start.
Under O’Brien’s guidance, the Lions’ offense averaged 29.1 points per game and senior quarterback Matt McGloin threw for a school record 3,266 yards in the season.
O'Brien also won the Big Ten Coach of the Year Award after he led the Nittany Lions to a second-place finish in the Leaders Division behind undefeated Ohio State.
O'Brien interviewed with NFL teams after the season ended but on Jan. 8, the coach confirmed he would remain in Happy Valley for a second season.
O’Brien beat out Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Stanford’s David Shaw, Vanderbilt’s James Franklin, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin to win the award.