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Bill O’Brien wins Maxwell Club Coach of the Year

Ohio State v Penn State Getty Images

Bill O’Brien didn’t orchestrate a massive on-the-field turnaround at Penn State. In fact, the Nittany Lions had one less victory in 2012 (eight) than a year ago (nine). O’Brien didn’t win those games with a bunch of talentless players, either. While the departure of running back Silas Redd to USC was a bummer for Penn State, the team still had a 1,000-yard rusher (Zach Zwinak) and receiver (Allen Robinson). That’s not even mentioning PSU’s veteran-laden defense. Penn State wasn’t the most talented Big Ten team, but it certainly wasn’t the worst.

But O’Brien did lead Penn State through its roughest year in history following the Jerry Sandusky scandal and was thrown under an NCAA bus of postseason bans and scholarship reductions. Still, O’Brien surpassed all expectations outside of Happy Valley and coached up Matt McGloin, once dreadfully inconsistent, to one of the better quarterbacks in the Big Ten.

For all his efforts, O’Brien has been awarded the Maxwell Club Coach of the Year over Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly and Kansas State’s Bill Snyder.

“Coach O’Brien has engineered a tremendous season for the Penn State football program while overcoming obstacles that many considered to be insurmountable,” said Maxwell executive director Mark Wolpert in a statement. “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.”

The Maxwell Club will honor O’Brien at a ceremony on March 1.

If you’ve visited this site often enough, you know that O’Brien was my pick for coach of the year long before the season ended. The confidence and stability he’s been able to provide the Penn State program during such turmoil was only complimented by the improvements the team showed on offense at times this year. PSU has a tough road ahead, but there’s no doubt in my mind that O’Brien’s the coach that can get through it.

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20 Responses to “Bill O’Brien wins Maxwell Club Coach of the Year”
  1. gatordontplay says: Dec 19, 2012 11:27 AM

    congrats much deserved

  2. mvp43 says: Dec 19, 2012 11:38 AM

    I’m a Badger fan but have rooted for PSU all year. Bill O’Brien deserves this award for guiding his team through a dark period.

  3. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Dec 19, 2012 11:39 AM

    Congrats. The next few years will probably be even more difficult.

  4. jhalion says: Dec 19, 2012 11:48 AM

    Proud PSU alum 05

  5. gripless says: Dec 19, 2012 11:52 AM

    Tremendous job by O’Brien. This was the worst year by far. The ability to plug holes in this program and provide a productive and good team is remarkable. The scholarships will be light but the coaching talent is much higher and a great school for kids to graduate. Penn State should ask the NCAA to back off of year 4 punishment given they had no place playing in this space to start. Penn State with a quarterback coach could prove interesting for wins and talent going forward.

  6. normtide says: Dec 19, 2012 12:18 PM

    Great pick. This guy has not complained, worked his but off, and tried to reward the players that stuck with him. A good way to judge a man is by what he gets done with what he has. I have said all season, if the fans will stop complaining and get on board with O’Brien, he will get PSU through this. I know the students, players, and fans had NOTHING to do with what happened, but a statement had to be made. I truly believe that the price your paying will ensure there is never a cover up like this again. Treat it as a noble cause, because it is one. I am rooting for PSU, because I believe now that sport will never out weigh children’s welfare on an institutional scale again.

  7. houndofthebaskervols says: Dec 19, 2012 12:40 PM

    Well deserved. {cue the Paterno was a scumbag comments.}

  8. woebegong says: Dec 19, 2012 1:41 PM

    I give the coach credit. Under extremely difficult circumstances, he has managed to keep a team together, and start the slow but possible healing process for the schools football program.

  9. dhlions says: Dec 19, 2012 2:05 PM

    When you consider everything O’Brien did (not just the scandal related issues, but the inherent issues in inheriting a program full of players you didn’t pick), it truly is amazing and a testament to the kind of person he is.

    Congrats to coach O’Brien, and congrats to CFT for it’s first PSU related story in the past year where the comments didn’t go to Hell in 2 seconds.

  10. Deb says: Dec 19, 2012 2:05 PM

    Although I think Kelly would have been a great choice, O’Brien is deserving for keeping his team on track through such horrible circumstances. We’ve seen other teams in college and the pros fall apart with less reason, but O’Brien did an admirable job of bringing these kids through. Congratulations!

  11. BrownsTown says: Dec 19, 2012 2:41 PM

    PSU: 8-4
    USC: 7-5

  12. mrlaloosh says: Dec 19, 2012 3:34 PM

    I don’t think so. Embarrassing. Program should have been shut down.

  13. seamus0317 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:46 PM

    Very well deserved! He probably did the best job of coaching in the country. Hey Redd, how’d that USC thing work out for you?

  14. seanemac75 says: Dec 19, 2012 6:44 PM

    O’Brien did what many thought was impossible. He might still do it with the recruiting class he has coming in.
    As for those that believe the program should br shutdown, this is not the forum to do it.

  15. mdac1012 says: Dec 19, 2012 8:48 PM

    “I don’t think so. Embarrassing. Program should have been shut down.”

    But it wasn’t, and he did a great job under the circumstances he was dealt. Much deserved!

  16. latchbeam says: Dec 19, 2012 10:15 PM

    They get manhandled by Ohio U and he wins coach of the year…

  17. general74 says: Dec 20, 2012 8:25 AM

    Why is Urban Meyer not getting any love for these awards the guy takes a 6-7 team with nothing to play for to a perfect 12-0 season if that isn’t good coaching I don’t know what is.

  18. latchbeam says: Dec 20, 2012 11:26 AM

    Exactly!! @general

  19. joewilliesshnoz says: Dec 20, 2012 12:50 PM

    Hope the psu alumni enjoyed it, because he’ll be coaching in the NFL next year .

  20. eidolon21 says: Dec 22, 2012 9:46 AM

    He will coach at PSU for a long time and be a great coach.

    Pitt sucks

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