Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/27/12

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 7: Head coach Joe Paterno of the Penn State Nittany Lions stands on the field during warm-ups before a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 7, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
When the 2012 season started in Happy Valley, it well, wasn’t very happy. Joe Paterno had passed away after an abrupt firing, Jerry Sandusky was still in the headlines and to top it all off, the Nittany Lions started the season losing two straight to non-conference opponents. That’s what makes it so impressive that Bill O’Brien was able to rally his “fighters” to an 8-4 record, going 6-2 in the Big Ten. O’Brien was honored for his achievement with the Big Ten Coach of the Year award. O’Brien won the honor over Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who led his team to an undefeated record. O’Brien could receive offers for head coaching jobs in the NFL following his impressive display in the college ranks, but he said in an interview with 790 The Zone that he plans to coach at Penn State in 2013. Earlier in the season, O’Brien would not confirm in a news conference that he would stay at Penn State after this year.
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