Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien has been named the Maxwell Coach of the Year after leading the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record (6-2 in the Big Ten) and a second-place finish in the Leaders Division.
O’Brien did a remarkable job considering the he had to deal with the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal as well as the NCAA penalties that included fines, loss of scholarships and a four-year bowl ban.
On top of that, other colleges could recruit current Penn State players with no repercussions and some of them literally rented apartments in State College so that they could meet players like star running back Silas Redd who left to go to USC.
When Penn State lost its first two games of the season, it looked like this was going to be a disaster of a year.
With through it all O’Brien stayed calm and focused and his attitude rubbed off on his players. Penn State won its next five games. The only other loses Penn State suffered after September 15 were against undefeated Ohio State and a Nebraska team that played in the Big Ten Championship.
An 8-4 record for a major program like Penn State doesn’t sound impressive on its own, but considering that O’Brien had to deal with on and off the field, it is nothing short of incredible.