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Paterno honored as Big 10 Coach of Year

PARK RIDGE, Ill. — Penn State’s Joe Paterno was chosen coach of the year, Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis repeated as defensive player of the year and Iowa’s Shonn Greene captured best offensive player Monday when the all-Big Ten was announced.

Penn State center A.Q. Shipley is the offensive lineman of the year and Iowa defensive tackle Mitch King was selected as the top defensive lineman. Freshman of the Year was Ohio State quarterback Terrell Pryor.

The 81-year-old Paterno underwent hip replacement surgery Sunday, a day after the Nittany Lions clinched a Rose Bowl berth by beating Michigan State. He led Penn State to an 11-1 record, even as he coached from the press box. Penn State went 7-1 in the league but had its national title hopes dashed by a tough loss at Iowa.

Paterno won the Dave McClain Coach of the Year from the media for the third time. He’s the third three-time winner in league history, joining Michigan’s Bo Schembechler, who won six, and Iowa’s Hayden Fry, who was also honored three times.

Laurinaitis helped the Buckeyes to a share of the title with Penn State by averaging 10 tackles per game while becoming the third player in league history to win the award back-to-back. He joins Illinois’ Dana Howard and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald.

Greene, a junior, led the Big Ten in rushing with a school-record 1,729 yards and 17 touchdowns, tying a school mark. He surpassed 100 yards rushing in all 12 of the Hawkeyes’ games.

Pryor completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 1,245 yards and 12 touchdowns and ranked second on the team with 553 rushing yards and six touchdowns. OSU, which lost to Penn State, was 8-1 with Pryor as a starter.

First-team all-conference repeaters from 2007 include Vontae Davis of Illinois; Malcolm Jenkins of Ohio State; King, Shipley and Laurinaitis. Jenkins, a defensive back, and Laurinaitis have made the first team three straight seasons.

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