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Feb. 14, 2012
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., February 14, 2012 -- Bill O'Brien, Penn State's new head football coach, will be the featured speaker Sunday, March 25 at the 15th annual football awards banquet sponsored by the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.
The banquet honors the athletic and academic achievements of high school football players in Central Pennsylvania and players from 10 area colleges. Special awards also recognize high school and college coaches, game officials and a member of the news media.
"We are very pleased to have Coach O'Brien speaking at the banquet," said Rob Oshinski, president of the Central Pennsylvania Chapter. "This will be one of his first public speaking appearances since succeeding Joe Paterno in early January. That shows how much he believes in what the National Football Foundation does for amateur football and especially the high school student-athletes we will be honoring at the banquet."
This year's event is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University campus, with doors opening a 12:45 p.m. Forty scholastic student-athletes will be recognized at the banquet, with at least 12 student-athletes receiving a $1,000 scholarship towards their college education.
Since initiating the awards banquet in 1997-98, the NFF's Central Pennsylvania Chapter has given out $141,000 in scholarships while honoring 471 deserving student-athletes from some high schools located in the following 20 area counties: Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia Elk, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union.
O'Brien was named the 15th head football coach in Penn State's 126-year history on January 6. He was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach with the New England Patriots during the 2011 season, helping the Patriots to their second Super Bowl during his five years on the coaching staff. O'Brien returned to Penn State full-time on February 7, two days after Super Bowl XLVI and is preparing for spring practice, which begins March 26.
Like his predecessor, O'Brien graduated from Brown University where he played linebacker and defensive end from 1990-92. He graduated in 1993 with a double concentration in political science and organizational behavior management. O'Brien began his coaching career at his alma mater, working with the tight ends in 1993 and the inside linebackers in 1994. From 1995-2002 he was on the coaching staff at Georgia Tech, serving as assistant head coach in 2002.
Before joining the Patriots in 2007, O'Brien also coached at Maryland and Duke. In 2009, he was named New England's quarterback coach, working with All-Pro Tom Brady. As the offensive coordinator this past season, O'Brien helped lead the Patriots to 513 points (32.1 avg.), the AFC's highest mark and No. 3 in the NFL. New England was second in the NFL in total offense (428.0 ypg) and passing (317.8 ypg) during the 2011 regular season.
Tickets for the Central Pa. Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Awards Banquet are $25.00 each and $250.00 for a table of 10. Anyone interested in purchasing tickets should contact Bill Nichol at 467 Nimitz Ave., State College, PA 16801. Make checks payable to Central Pennsylvania Chapter NFF/CHF.
For additional information, please contact Chapter Executive Director Frank Rocco (814-861-3625).