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Bill O'Brien named Big Ten coach of the year - abc27 WHTM

Centre County

Bill O'Brien named Big Ten coach of the year

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

A big honor for Penn State's football coach -- Bill O'Brien has been named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.

After a year full of controversy and turmoil, the Penn State football team showed strength and dignity. They exceeded the expectations of many critics, and it all happened under the direction of coach Bill O'Brien.

"It's obviously a fantastic honor, it's humbling," O'Brien said.

This is just O'Brien's first year on the job. but his accomplishment is impressing another coach. Brian Osborne coaches high school soccer and basketball in Cumberland County. He says it's great what O'Brien has been able to do in such a short time.

"Back in October, November I never thought it was possible that this team could eventually get to the point they are now," he said.

O'Brien's journey wasn't easy. He replaced iconic coach Joe Paterno after a scandal that rocked the university. Many fans didn't want him. If that wasn't enough, the NCAA slapped the school with some tough penalties. Several starters even left.

"He walked into a situation where he didn't know how many players were returning, how much fan support he was going to get. With the media all over with them in the spotlight, it's a lot of pressure and I think he handled it superbly," Osborne said.

It's a feat even those who aren't fans respect.

"I may not be a Penn State fan. [But] I'm all about football, and what he's doing in place of Paterno, I think it's great," said Jeremy Connell of Carlisle.

"He came in and it was a tough situation but he made the best out of it and all those guys are fighters," said Liana Nailor of Mechanicsburg.

"Our players did a great job of going out there and playing as hard as they could," said O'Brien. "It's an honor for our program."

Coaches and sports writers vote for the coach of the year. Some say O'Brien could win even more national awards.

More good news for Penn State fans, O'Brien is sticking around. He will be back on the field next year.

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