O'Brien a finalist for Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State coach Bill O’Brien has been named a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year. The second-year coach has led the Nittany Lions to 15 wins in their last 22 games.

Established in 2006, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year recognizes coaches who demonstrate responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship and excellence on and off the field.

Beginning today through Dec. 22, Penn State fans can log their Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year vote for coach O’Brien by visiting coachoftheyear.com on their PC, tablet or mobile device and posting a pre-populated tweet. As part of Liberty Mutual’s partnership with the National Football Foundation, a selection committee of more than 50 College Football Hall of Fame players and coaches, as well as national college football media, will evaluate the coaches based on their responsibility, integrity and on-field success to help determine the four coaching winners from FBS, the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II and Division III.

Winners are ultimately determined using the following voting weight:  fan voting (20 percent), College Football Hall of Fame (55 percent) and media (25 percent).

Liberty Mutual will announce the four winners the morning of the BCS National Championship game Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif. The FBS coaching winner will receive a $50,000 donation from Liberty Mutual to the charity or charities of his choice, as well as a $20,000 scholarship grant in their name to their school’s alumni association. Since 2006, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award has celebrated the work of its 21 winners by donating more than $1.8 million to more than 100 charities and college alumni scholarship funds.

O’Brien has led Penn State to marks of 8-4 and 7-5 during his initial two years as the Nittany Lions’ 15th head coach. This past season, he helped develop three first-team All-Big Ten honorees (DT DaQuan Jones, WR Allen Robinson and G John Urschel). In addition, Robinson was selected the Big Ten Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year for the second consecutive year and quarterback Christian Hackenberg was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, giving Penn State the conference’s last two freshman honorees.

During the 2012 season, O’Brien was selected the Bear Bryant, Maxwell Football Club and ESPN National Coach of the Year and the Big Ten-Dave McClain Coach of the Year and Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year. O’Brien’s eight wins were the most by a first-year Penn State coach in the 126 years of the program.

O’Brien came to Penn State after five years on the New England Patriots’ coaching staff, serving as the quarterbacks coach from 2009-11 and as offensive coordinator in 2011 in helping the Patriots to the AFC Championship and a berth Super Bowl XLVI. O’Brien began his coaching career at his alma mater, Brown University, in 1993-94. He then coached at Georgia Tech (1995-2002), Maryland (2003-04) and Duke (2005-06) before joining Bill Belichick’s New England staff.

O’Brien is joined as a finalist for the 2013 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award by Art Briles (Baylor), David Cutcliffe (Duke), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Todd Graham (Arizona State), Gus Malzahn (Auburn), Urban Meyer (Ohio State), Jim Mora (UCLA), Nick Saban (Alabama) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson).

The Nittany Lions return 16 starters for the 2014 season (eight offense, seven defense, one specialist), which begins Aug. 30 vs. No. 15 UCF in the Croke Park Classic in Dublin.

For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing 2014 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, visit www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets or call 800-NITTANY from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.

Penn State Athletics is on Twitter (www.gopsusports.com/ot/twitter.html) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/pennstatenittanylions).

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Last Updated December 10, 2013