After taking home Big Ten Coach of the Year honors last week, Bill O’Brien may soon be able to add to his trophy case.
It came as no surprise yesterday that the first year Penn State head coach was one of the nine finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. Named after the former Grambling coach who won 408 career games, this national honor has been voted on by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) every year since 1957 with Joe Paterno winning the award in 1978, 1982, and 1986.
This year’s award winner will be announced on Thursday, December 13th after voting takes place this week. Below are the eight other coaches being considered along with their school and season record.
- Gary Andersen, Utah State (10-2)
- Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois (12-1)
- Brian Kelly, Notre Dame (12-0)
- Urban Meyer, Ohio State (12-0)
- Will Muschamp, Florida (11-1)
- David Shaw, Stanford (11-2)
- Bill Snyder, Kansas State (11-1)
- Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M (10-2)
This is an impressive list featuring some coaches that guided programs to undefeated seasons and a few others who will be playing in BCS games. O’Brien’s 8-4 record is easily the worst on the list, and historically, one would have to go back nearly twenty years to Rich Brooks from Oregon in 1994 to find the last time a head coach won this award with more than three losses on the season, but none of these other eight coaches dealt with the challenges that O’Brien faced over his first eight months in Happy Valley before even beginning the season.
Big Ten coaches and media looked beyond simply the win-loss record when O’Brien beat out Meyer last week. If members of the FWAA take a similar approach and consider the additional challenges, O’Brien could be bringing home some more hardware a week from now.