Penn State Football

Penn State football: O’Brien wins Maxwell coach of the year award

UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State coach Bill O’Brien was selected the Maxwell Football Club’s Collegiate Coach of the Year on Wednesday to earn his second national coaching honor.

O’Brien previously was named the ESPN Coach of the Year. He also is a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year and the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year. The first-year Nittany Lion mentor also was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year by the Football Writers Association of America and is among six candidates for the Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year.

“Coach O’Brien has engineered a tremendous season for the Penn State football program while overcoming obstacles that many considered to be insurmountable,” Maxwell Football Club executive director Mark Wolpert said. “The team’s 8-4 record is a great testament to the hard work of Coach O’Brien and his staff, and also to the dedication shown by the student-athletes involved in the football program at Penn State.”

O’Brien will be honored on March 1 at the 76th Maxwell Club National Awards Gala, which will be held at the Harrah’s Atlantic City Resort. At the event, the MFC also will present its Thomas Brookshier Spirit Award to the 2012 Penn State football seniors in recognition of their commitment, leadership and outstanding effort during this season.

O’Brien was named the Big Ten’s Dave McClain Coach of the Year by the media, and won the Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year, as voted upon by the Big Ten 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.

Named Penn State’s 15th head football coach on Jan. 6, O’Brien led the Nittany Lions to victories in eight of their final 10 games, earning 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.

Other honorees that will be recognized on March 1 in Atlantic City include Manti Te’o (Notre Dame), winner of the Maxwell and Chuck Bednarik Awards, and Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens) winner of the Francis ‘Reds” Bagnell Award. Additional honorees of the Maxwell Club’s professional awards will be announced in the coming weeks.