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HOUSTON (AP) — Penn State coach Bill O'Brien wins the Paul "Bear" Bryant College Coach of the Year Award on Thursday night.
O'Brien led the Nittany Lions through an 0-2 start and NCAA sanctions to an 8-4 finish in his first season at Penn State.
Other finalists for the award were Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, Ohio State's Urban Meyer, Kansas State's Bill Snyder, Stanford's David Shaw and Vanderbilt's James Franklin.
Snyder, Sumlin and Shaw were each finalists at the end of last season.
Former Brigham Young coach LaVell Edwards was the ceremony's other honoree, receiving the Bryan Lifetime Achievement Award given by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Edwards retired in 2000 with 257 victories, 22 bowl appearances and one national championship in 1984.
Christopher Walsh covers Alabama football for BamaOnline, 247Sports, and is the author of 18 books.
I think I would've given it to all those other guys before Bill O'Brien.
Still don't understand how Saban doesn't even get nominated for these awards. What a joke
Haha. So stupid. The only way to win these awards is to have crappy preseason expectations.
"Coach of the year" = "Best turnaround job". Just the way it is. Oh, unless you have a 13-0 team playing for the championship and aren't named Nick Saban. Then you'll win some.
Nice to see James Franklin getting some recognition, though.
Lot of PSU's starters transferred. I think he deserved it.
Well then they should call it "Best Turnaround Job" or "Best Improvement from Preseason Ranking". But of course they won't.
They beat absolutely nobody the entire season. Not a single quality win and two bad losses.
And James Franklin, look I like him too but that's just dumb.
Exactly right. It should be called "biggest surprise" or something. Saban has won one of these in the last five years and it was in a year where he didn't win a NC.
I think he did a nice job but I think Sumlin deserves it.
Chris, I really appreciate you posting this as it is a great event. As usual we get the " why didn't Nick win crowd" but as a volunteer for the event I point out that as we say in our charter -
"Coach Bryant was a leader, both on and off the field. He possessed the ability to inspire, the patience to teach, and the gift of leadership. The Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award salutes those coaches who have reached that same high standard of excellence."
The coaches honored last night clearly met that criteria. As an alum I always think Nick should win every award but Coach Braynt only won this award 3 times in his career, all at Alabama and the last in 1973. It's about more than wins and losses, to that point does anyone think the Bear was less of a coach in 1969 when he went 6-5 than in all the undefeated years?
Coach Saban is much like the Bear in that he has transcended in many ways annual awards like this. It does not detract from the award or Bryant's legacy that Nick hasn't won since he was at LSU. If people could hear the nominees talk about Coach Bryant and how honored they are to be in the profession he defined, the winners and losers argument would be less important.
Finally, the event raised over a half a million dollars for the American Heart Association to fight America's #1 killer , heart disease and stroke, which as we know claimed the Bear in 1983.
Both the Bear's impact on coaching as expressed by these men and the Bryant family's continued focus on the American Heart Association and fighting heart disease are examples of a lasting legacy of a great man and coach.
Detracting from Coach O'Brien or Franklin or the others because our guy didnt "win" doesn't demonstrate the class the Bear always asked his players to carry.
Lots of P.C. love there, nothing more. So predictable. And so pathetic.
I thought Jim deserved it (g)
I think there is a legitimate flaw in the way these "Coach of the Year" awards work it has nothing to do with this specific award.
They basically ignore recruiting and development and measure success relative to preseason expectations which I think is kind of stupid.
Sorry if that's offends you.
Actually appreciate the observation, we work with the National Association of Sportwriters and Sportscasters who vote on the award and I can tell you how they arrive at their votes is often a mystery!
Yea I didn't mean it as a Saban should have won deal. I just think that it's amusing that coaches like him who are expected to be dominant basically every year are disqualified by default.
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