Sources: Penn State To Hire Bill O’Brien As Head Coach


After 58 days, Penn State appears to have found its successor to Joe Paterno. Sources have told Chris Mortensen that Bill O’Brien, the current New England Patriots offensive coordinator, will be named head coach, with an official announcement on Saturday.

O’Brien played college football at Brown. His collegiate coaching experience includes stops at Brown, Georgia, Tech, Maryland, and Duke. He has been with the Patriots organization since 2007 and was promoted to offensive coordinator last February. He is currently 42 years old.

Stay tuned for more details.

Photo By: ESPN Boston

About Author

Drew is a senior marketing major. This fall, he will be covering Penn State Football for Onward State. He is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and loves THON and Domonic Brown.


  1. Fielding Mellish on

    Love it! The man has an impeccable reputation and has implemented a double tight end offense that has been giving other NFL teams nightmares. Innovation, winning background, strong personality and the cachet of Tom Brady will be impressive to recruits. The only downside is his unavailability for recruiting during NFL playoffs.  None of the other bigger name candidates come with guarantees, and O’Brien has handled some personal adversity of his own that gives him perspective on making the best you can with what you’ve got. Congrats Joyner on giving us some sorely needed hope…can’t overemphasize that word!

  2. Impeccable reputation? Winning background?
    Are you referring to the 1-22 record at Duke or him riding the coattails of Brady and Bellichick?
    I pray this is just another smokescreen.

  3. I don’t like it either, but let’s just face the fact that no one we get will be able to perfectly replace Paterno; he’s a legend. However, O’Brien does have a solid track record with what our school and program stands for: higher education and a commitment to excellence.

  4. Personally, I don’t believe the story just yet. Any story that is “first reported by ESPN” can no longer be held as credible! Also, the USA Today with their bull crap that they pulled during the Sandusky Scandal are in the same boat as far as I’m concerned.

    However, if he DOES turn out to step to the podium sometime this weekend and is declared the next coach at PSU, here are a few things:

    1. Although he can run a great offense with the NFL, can it translate to the College level? College QB’s are not as gifted to run a complex offense as Tom Brady is. PSU has never been a place known for its great/smart QB play. Can O’Brien develop an offense that can be successful, yet simple enough for our current offense to run?

    2. Although he has experience at Duke, UMD, and GT, which are above-par academic institutions, he did not seem to have the talent to contend for a championship? Does he know how to get away from the X’s and O’s and successfully warm the hearts and minds of potential recruits to buy into the PSU way? Also will be be able to connect to the Alumni, Staff and students of PSU, and show them/us that he can run a program of SUCCESS WITH HONOR!

    With all that being said, here should be his goals (in no particular order) in the first year…

    1. Retain the Defensive staff @ PSU already in place (or a majority of it).
    2. Recruit humble, honorable and talented coaches and future players who win with class, talent- and who can GRADUATE as well.
    3. Honor the past, capture the future – Use the Success with Honor motto to mold boys into men ad Paterno did, but O’Brien should leave his own positive mark on the program.
    4. O’Brien should acknowledge that he is no powerful than the program, AD and University.
    5. Finish his first season no worst than .500, and no lower than 3rd in the division!
    6. Keep it simple- White helmet, blue stripe; bacis blues and black shoes!

    Regardless of what happens, this year’s Blue/White game will be an interesting test for us all.

  5. I am still waiting for the PSU announcement. I can’t trust anything ESPN reports anymore. But if true, I hope the best for him. He is walking into a shitstorm in more ways than one. Scandal aside, he is following a legend. He’s starting a year after low ticket sales, low student attendance, and a controversial ticketing system. Any kind of chane will be tough. He’s not a Penn State guy. He isn’t getting support from old players. And of course, the scandal followup is as unpredicatable as anything. I am curious if there will be more outrage from fans, students, alums directed toward administration, the AD, and the BOT. It’s time for them to be heard. Or is PSU unlike other schools, and just takes it?

    With that said, I wish him the best of luck. I’ve only been reading about his failures, but if he can make things right, win some games, everyone will shut up real quickly. Go State!

  6. In the old days, people would learn about a new football coach, espeically a college football coach, through the local newspapers, and would probably say “how about that. I hope he does well for himself”, and he could probably coach at least five years, and that’s how it was back then.

    All of the mouth breathers who are pissing their pants about this hire need to get a life or get laid.

  7. This is a thoughtful post.  From a football standpoint, your suggestions and goals (while arguable) make sense.  However, there are non football issues that the University has to contend with that unfortunately must take precedence for the foreseeable future.

    The University is facing several investigations including one (or more) from the NCAA, and two (or more) from Federal agencies.  The public has determined (based on very little evidence) that PSU is a bad place that cares more about its football program than “doing what is right.”  So there will be lots of punishment forthcoming.  Whether or not the school’s actions (really inactions) will merit the sanctions that are coming remains to be seen. 

    The point of course is that the new coaching staff has to be squeaky clean, and have not a whiff of connection to the scandal.  All of the current coaches are damned by association (which is unfair of course).  So for the long term good of university, the entire staff must go.  If the university appears to be “changing” its ways, then the sanctions will be less severe (I predict that we will be barred from bowl games for at least one season though maybe not in 2012 but perhaps in 2013) 

    We will have trouble bringing top players in for the foreseable future.  We will have trouble winning games for that period of time.  Think Notre Dame, that will be us for a number of years. Mr. O’Brien’s real job is to get the program through that mess, then get fired, and be replaced by someone else.  (Maybe there is another Nick Saban around in 5 years). 

    The anger expressed by former players to this announcement is naive.  Coach Bradley was graceful under extreme pressure, and deserves a better fate.  But outside factors leave the University with little choice.

  8. Fielding Mellish on

    Sort of like the record Joe Pa had had when he came to PSU? ‘Riding the coattails’? I guess you don’t watch much football or you would acknowledge the excitement he’s brought as OC. He was not HC at Duke, so obviously that point is moot. You do understand that this hire is intended to be a long range solution to the problem,not a steppingstone, don’t you? Patriot fans and media describe him as a quality person, charismatic, and a natural leader with a mind of his own… not a Belichick clone. Time will tell. Recruiting this year remains a very big problem.