STATE COLLEGE - Bill O'Brien is the unanimous 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year.
After guiding Penn State to an 8-4 (6-2 Big Ten) season in his first year at the helm of the Nittany Lions, O'Brien was selected by both coaches and the media to win the honor announced Tuesday on the Big Ten Network. Meanwhile, redshirt freshman defensive end Deion Barnes, from Northeast High, was selected as the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year.
After Penn State started its first sanctioned season 0-2, O'Brien guided the Lions to an 8-2 record to finish and a second-place finish in the Big Ten's Leaders Division. His fast-paced, high-powered offense was crucial in Penn State's offensive players setting many school records. Considering the harsh NCAA sanctions as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal, O'Brien's job was so impressive that he beat out Urban Meyer, who coached Ohio State to an undefeated season in his first year there.