For the second year in a row, the coach of a surprise B1G team won the Woody Hayes Coach of the Year Award.
Last year, Kirk Ferentz earned the honor after leading Iowa to the Rose Bowl. This year, James Franklin earned the honor after leading Penn State to the Rose Bowl.
On Tuesday, Franklin was announced as the 2016 Hayes winner, as presented by the Touchdown Club of Columbus. That came after a season in which he turned a 2-2 start into a B1G Championship and nearly a Rose Bowl victory.
The last time a Penn State coach earned the Hayes Award was Joe Paterno in 2005. The late Penn State coach won the award four times in his career.
This was the second national coach of the year honor for Franklin. He was named the Sporting News Coach of the Year, and he’s also a finalist for the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award, which will be announced on Wednesday.
Franklin is one of four active B1G coaches to receive the honor. Urban Meyer won it at Utah in 2004 and at Ohio State in 2012. Jim Harbaugh also earned the award when he was at Stanford in 2010.
With nearly all of their offensive starters returning in 2017, Franklin’s squad could start the season in the top five.