Penn State's O'Brien named Big Ten Coach of the Year

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State coach Bill O'Brien has been selected 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year by the coaches and media, and defensive end Deion Barnes from Philadelphia has been named the conference's Thompson-Randel El Freshman of the Year.

O'Brien and Barnes join the seven Nittany Lions who were named All-Big Ten on Monday (Nov. 26), six of whom were first-team honorees.

O'Brien is the recipient of the Dave McClain Coach of the Year (media vote), which has been selected since 1972 and is named for the former Wisconsin head coach. O'Brien also is the recipient of the Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year, which was established in 2011 and is voted on the by the head coaches. The award is named for former Ohio State coach Woody Hayes and former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler.

Named Penn State's 15th head football coach on Jan. 6, 2012, O'Brien is the seventh first-year head coach to earn the Dave McClain Coach of the Year in the 41 years it has been awarded. Former Nittany Lion Coach Joe Paterno earned the Big Ten honor in 1994, 2005 and 2008.

"This is a fantastic honor; it's very humbling," O'Brien said. "Any time you are named coach of the year, it has a lot to do with two groups of people -- it's your coaching staff and obviously your players. We have a great coaching staff that did a nice job of keeping everything together and teaching our players. And our players did a great job of going out there every week and playing as hard as they could. It's an honor for our program."

On the Watch List for the Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year, O'Brien led the Nittany Lions to victories in eight of their final 10 games, earning an 8-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in the Big Ten, with the only losses coming to division winners Ohio State and Nebraska. O'Brien's eight wins are the most by a first-year Penn State coach in the 126 years of the program.

Deion Barnes, a redshirt freshman, Barnes joins tailback Curtis Enis (1995) as Nittany Lions to win the Thompson-Randel El Freshman of the Year, which is named for Darrell Thompson (Minnesota) and Antwaan Randel El (Indiana). The Big Ten Freshman of the Year was first awarded in 1986.

On Monday, Penn State senior Michael Mauti (Mandeville, La.) was selected the Big Ten Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year and sophomore Allen Robinson (Southfield, Mich.) was named the Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year. Mauti, Robinson and senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill (Steelton) were selected first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and media.
 

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Last Updated December 19, 2012