Penn State’s seniors are beginning to experience the perks associated with successfully guiding a football team through a tumultuous period.
The resilient group begins its postseason tour at Saturday’s men’s basketball game against Army. The seniors, along with coach Bill O’Brien, will be honored at halftime. Before the game, the seniors are scheduled to participate in an autograph session beginning at 3 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center concourse.
Some members of the class will then appear at the RISE and RALLY Bowl from Jan. 5-8 in Atlantic City, N.J. The trip, organized by the group that planned this past summer’s 6 a.m. RISE and RALLY event and the website FightOnState.com, is being promoted as an alternate bowl trip.
Organizers have invited the entire 31-member senior class. Daryll Clark, Derrick Williams and Aaron Maybin are among the former players scheduled to attend. The event will be held at Trump Taj Mahal Casino and Showboat Casino. Portions of each package sold will help defray the cost for seniors to appear. A group viewing of the BCS championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama on Jan. 7 is one of the scheduled activities.
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Penn State went 8-4 in the first of a four-year NCAA-mandated postseason ban. The Nittany Lions ended their season with a 24-21 overtime victory over Wisconsin last month.
The seniors are returning to Atlantic City on March 1 to receive the Maxwell Club’s Thomas Brookshier Spirit Award honoring commitment, leadership and outstanding effort. The award will be presented as part of the 76th Maxwell Football Club National Awards Gala at Harrah’s Atlantic City Resort.
“The senior leaders at Penn State demonstrated incredible commitment, character and effort during the past year, and what they accomplished on the field this fall is just astonishing,” Maxwell Club president and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski said in a statement. “They are a very special group of young men.”
O’Brien up for another award
O’Brien’s chances of capturing another award increased Tuesday when he was selected as a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year. Other finalists include Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, UCLA’s Jim Mora Jr., Georgia’s Mark Richt, Alabama’s Nick Saban, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, Louisville’s Charlie Strong, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney.
A fan vote, a committee comprised of College Football Hall of Fame members and media panel are determining the winner, which will be announced the morning of the BCS championship game. The winner receives a $50,000 donation to a charity of his choice and a $20,000 scholarship grant in their name to their school’s alumni association.
O’Brien was selected as consensus Big Ten Coach of the Year last week. He was named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on Monday.
Farrell, Zordich land representation
Senior offensive lineman Mike Farrell and fullback Michael Zordich will be represented by CRM Sports Management, the firm announced on its Twitter account.
Former Penn State linebacker Shane Conlan works as the firm’s director of football. Former Penn State interim coach/defensive coordinator Tom Bradley is a CRM client.
Follow Guy Cipriano on Twitter @cdtguy.