O'Brien earns 3rd national coaching honor

Bill O'Brien added yet another national coaching honor to his resume Thursday night, becoming the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year.

Joe Paterno won the first-ever Bear Bryant Award after leading the Nittany Lions to the 1986 national championship. Penn State and Auburn are now the only schools with multiple recipients of the award.

"This is a huge honor for the Penn State program, for a great group of players and a great coaching staff," O'Brien said in a news release. "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."

This wasn't the first award for the first-year head coach. Both ESPN and the Maxwell Club named him their coach of the year, and O'Brien was a finalist for multiple other honors. He was a a nominee for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year and the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year.

He was also the unanimous selection, by both the media and coaches, as the top Big Ten coach.

The Bear Bryant Award was voted on the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. The other finalists included Vanderbilt's James Franklin, Ohio State's Urban Meyer, Stanford's David Shaw, Kansas State's Bill Snyder and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin.