Bill O’Brien is adding another award to his trophy case, this time the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award which he won tonight in Houston, Texas.
This is Coach O’Brien’s third Coach of the Year award after a magical 2012 season, already having won the Maxwell Club and AT&T ESPN Coach of the Year awards last month. O’Brien was also a finalist for three other Coach of the Year honors.
“This is a huge honor for the Penn State program, for a great group of players and a great coaching staff,” O’Brien said after the announcement. “The other coaches here are phenomenal coaches who have done this for a long time. I’ve only done this for a year. It shows what type of coaching staff and the type of players we had this year. It is a program award.”
Joe Paterno was the inaugural Bear Bryant Coach of the Year back in 1986 after Penn State won its second national championship. O’Brien beat out coaches James Franklin (Vanderbilt), Urban Meyer (Ohio State), David Shaw (Stanford), Bill Snyder (Kansas State), and Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M) for the honor.
The award, sponsored by the American Heart Association and the Marathon Oil Corporation (hey, it is Texas), recognizes coaching excellence “both on and off the field” and is voted on by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. There is not a coach in the country that has ever managed and overcome more off the field distractions than Bill O’Brien, and he did it in a way that brought an entire community together.
Here’s hoping this award is the first of many in Coach O’Brien’s career.