Penn State coach Bill O'Brien has earned his second nod as a top candidate for a national coaching honor with his selection as a finalist for the 2012 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year.
On Monday, O'Brien was named a finalist for the 2012 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). O'Brien also is on the Watch List for the Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year.
The first-year Nittany Lion mentor last week was named the Big Ten's Dave McClain Coach of the Year (media) and Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year (coaches). He was just the seventh first-year head coach to earn the Big Ten-Dave McClain Coach of the Year in the 41 years it has been awarded.
O'Brien is joined as a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award by: Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Urban Meyer (Ohio State), Jim Mora, Jr. (UCLA), Mark Richt (Georgia), Nick Saban (Alabama), Bill Snyder (Kansas State), Charlie Strong (Louisville), Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson).
Established in 2006, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year recognizes coaches who demonstrate sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence both on and off the field.
Through Dec. 20, Penn State fans can log their Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year vote for Bill 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. 7, 2013, in South Florida. 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 $1.5 million to over 90 charities and college alumni scholarship funds.
Named Penn State's 15th head football coach on Jan. 6, 2012, 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.