Bill O'Brien wins Bear Bryant Coach of the Year award

Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

For his work in taking over a rather difficult situation at Penn State, head coach Bill O'Brien took home the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year award on Thursday.

Bill O'Brien led the Penn State Nittany Lions through what was an impressive first year for the head coach, and was named the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year award winner on Thursday, according to Ben Jones of StateCollege.com.

Amid the fall of the school's old regime due to the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal and players opting to leave the program, which was hit with heavy sanctions by the NCAA, O'Brien and the Nittany Lions finished the 2012 season with a record of 8-4 overall and were 6-2 in the Big Ten Leaders division. This was good for second place in the division behind the Ohio State Buckeyes, who could also not participate in the postseason.

The award, which was given out Thursday night in Houston, is in its 27th year of existence. Mike Gundy, head coach of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, received the honor in 2011.

O'Brien, who briefly flirted with the NFL this offseason -- most notably the Cleveland Browns -- decided to stay at Penn State in early January.

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