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November 27, 2012First-year Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien has been named the Big Ten Coach of the Year for the 2012 season.
While O'Brien's 8-4 Nittany Lions did not finish atop the conference standings, his performance in his first season at the helm of Penn State managed to draw plenty of praise.
Tuesday night, that praise was made formal as O'Brien was honored by the Big Ten and subsequently interviewed by the hosts on the BTN.
O'Brien was awarded the honor both by the conference coaches and media.
"It's obviously very humbling. There's two groups of people that you have to talk about when it comes to coach of the year awards and it's our coaching staff and our players. We weren't an undefeated team but we sure had a bunch of kids that played tough, hard football and it was fun to coach them."
Though Ohio State's Urban Meyer finished the year with an unbeaten record, clearly, the circumstances O'Brien was dealt when the NCAA handed down unprecedented sanctions in July went into the decision to name him Coach of the Year.
Asked later in the interview about what he's learned through the course of the season, O'Brien said he's learned plenty.
"I've learned a ton of things. I have a lot to improve on, whether it's game management, clock management, or practice schedules. When you haven't done this before, obviously there's so many things that come across your desk compared to when you're an assistant."
Though O'Brien's name has frequently been mentioned in connection to NFL jobs that are expected to open following the season, ESPN's Darren Rovell reported Tuesday afternoon that O'Brien is committed to staying at Penn State.
According to Joe Linta, who represents O'Brien, the Nittany Lions' head man is sticking in Happy Valley.
"(O'Brien) is staying, and we've had no conversations with anyone else," Linta told Rovell. "In fact, he's leaving at 6 in the morning tomorrow to go out on the recruiting trail."
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