The Associated Press recently announced that Notre Dame's Brian Kelly was its pick for coach of the year.While I applaud the pick and recognize that Kelly has done a great job with the Notre Dame program, I think that Bill O'Brien deserved the honor. O'Brien finished second in the voting.The consensus had Notre Dame going about 7-5, but I felt that Notre Dame would do better than that, especially if the defense was solid and it was. To go undefeated was surprising, but not shocking.What O'Brien did at Penn State was a shocker. Many people across the country were predicting doom and gloom after the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case hit the sports pages, and then Joe Paterno being fired and later dying.O'Brien took over a team that lost a few of its top players when the NCAA allowed players to transfer, without sitting out, because of the scandal and the school ending up on probation.If O'Brien was bothered, he didn't show it. He just rolled up his sleeves and got to work. He had a nice season, and the Nittany Lions (7-4) would have received a bowl bid had they been eligible. And, he did all this playing a tough schedule and without some scholarships.The season that Penn State had shows me that the school will rebound sooner rather than later. I'm hopeful that kids in Pennsylvania and throughout the Midwest will see that O'Brien is a great coach who will run a great program.Penn State did a lot of wrong things by looking the other way in the Sandusky situation and by letting Paterno have too much power. They are paying for their mistakes.It was, however, a shame to see kids who had nothing to do with that whole mess be penalized. The kids were never to blame, it was the coaches and the administration. I would have hit Penn State in the pocketbook ... hard. I still think it was wrong to penalize the kids.• • •With Christmas just a couple of days away, I'd like to thank coaches and staff at Carson High School for their cooperation.I'll start at the top with athletic director Bob Bateman and his assistant Kathy Taylor. They do a great job of keeping me informed of changes in the schedule, and when you are a one-person department, that is pivotal.When Carson advanced to the state playoffs in boys and girls soccer, Bateman made sure I had a seat on the bus down to Vegas, which I deeply appreciated because it meant that I could give the games the coverage they deserved instead of writing a few paragraphs from a phone call.I also would like to thank all the coaches. I'd say 99 percent of the varsity coaches at CHS have been prompt and reliable in turning in their information after a game. It's easy to do after a win, but much tougher after a loss, especially if it's a big loss. Most of the coaches get that this is about the kids and making sure they get recognized win, lose or draw. I'd like to throw in a special thank you to Kimberley King and Kyme Brown for their photography help over the past couple of years.We can't staff every Carson game, and King has volunteered her services on a regular basis, and has done an outstanding job. Ditto for Brown, who has sent many wrestling photos over the past couple of seasons.I'd also like to thank the many fine athletes who play for CHS, who have allowed me time when, in some cases, I'm sure they would rather be doing something else.• • •Last week in my wrestling story after the Damonte Ranch dual meet, I mentioned that two seniors had quit the team. Coach Tim McCarthy admitted that he was disappointed in their decision, but didn't want to go into any details. Tim is classy. He's not going to throw anybody under the bus, and that's admirable.My question is why would two kids quit in the middle of the season? Why would they let down the rest of their teammates like that? Why even go out for the sport at all if you weren't going to finish the season?The loss of these two kids could mean the difference between winning and losing a regional championship, but it's even bigger than that. I equate being on a sports team to having a second family, and you don't quit on family.It's this simple, finish what you start.• • •Former Carson High running back Dylan Sawyers was on campus the other day, and if all goes well, he's looking at attending Butte College.Butte has always done a nice job of getting kids to the four-year level. Butte is the alma mater of current Carson football coach Blair Roman.