Bill O’Brien has been named a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year for the second-straight season.
Established in 2006, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year recognizes coaches who demonstrate responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship and excellence on and off the field.
Other finalists include: Art Briles (Baylor), David Cutcliffe (Duke), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Todd Graham (Arizona State), Gus Malzahn (Auburn), Urban Meyer (Ohio State), Jim Mora (UCLA), Nick Saban (Alabama) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson).During his first two seasons at Penn State, O’Brien has led the Nittany Lions to 15 wins in their past 22 games despite NCAA sanctions that allowed open transfers, wiped away bowl games and scholarships.
Penn State suited up just over 60 scholarship players for its season-ending victory at Wisconsin. All Football Bowl Subdivision teams are allowed 85 scholarships.
Penn State fans can log their Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year vote for O’Brien through Dec. 22 by visiting coachoftheyear.com on their PC, tablet or mobile device and posting a pre-populated tweet. As part of Liberty Mutual’s partnership with the National Football Foundation, a selection committee of more than 50 College Football Hall of Fame players and coaches, as well as national college football media, will evaluate the coaches based on their responsibility, integrity and on-field success to help determine the four coaching winners from FBS, the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II and Division III.
Winners are ultimately determined using the following voting weight: fan voting (20 percent), College Football Hall of Fame (55 percent) and media (25 percent).
Liberty Mutual will announce the four winners the morning of the BCS National Championship game, Jan. 6, in Pasadena, Calif. The FBS coaching winner will receive a $50,000 donation from Liberty Mutual to the charity or charities of his choice, as well as a $20,000 scholarship grant in their name to their school’s alumni association.
O’Brien has led Penn State to marks of 8-4 and 7-5 during his initial two years as the Nittany Lions’ 15th head coach.
This past season, he helped develop three first-team All-Big Ten honorees (DaQuan Jones, Allen Robinson and John Urschel). In addition, Robinson was selected the Big Ten receiver of the year for the second consecutive seasons and quarterback Christian Hackenberg was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, giving Penn State the conference’s last two freshman honorees.
During the 2012 season, O’Brien was selected the Bear Bryant, Maxwell Football Club and ESPN National Coach of the Year and the Big Ten-Dave McClain Coach of the Year and Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year. O’Brien’s eight wins were the most by a first-year Penn State coach in the 126 years of the program.