For the first time in nearly 50 years, Penn State University has a new head football coach. University officials confirmed late Friday night that Patriots Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien will now lead the Nittany Lions.
Penn State’s announcement came 24 hours after reports first broke that O’Brien would be the head coach. The university would not comment during the day Friday. Friday evening, O’Brien arrived with his family in State College. The announcement from the school officials came not long after that.
“We have found the man to take Penn State football forward,” said Dave Joyner, Penn State acting director of athletics in a statement released Friday night. “Needless to say, we have been looking for someone with some very special qualities, beginning with a heart that beats to the values and vision of Penn State University and our Penn State football legacy and tradition. That was our starting point, and Coach O’Brien exemplifies those traits that Penn Staters hold so highly. In addition to his model characteristics as a man and a teacher, he’s all about producing winners, and doing so the right way. He will embrace tradition, demand excellence and pursue Success with Honor in every phase of our program.”
O’Brien has been with the New England Patriots since 2007. He serves as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Prior to that O’Brien served as assisant coach on the staff at Georgia Tech, Maryland and Duke. He played football at Brown University, ironically the same school where Joe Paterno played.
“I am thrilled to be the head coach of the Penn State football program,” stated O’Brien in a news release from the university. “I cannot tell you how excited I am to get started, meet the team, meet the football alumni and meet all of the people that make this University so special. As head coach of this special football program, it is my responsibility to ensure that this program represents the highest level of character, respect and integrity in everything we do. That includes my coaching staff, our players and everyone involved in the football program. There is tremendous pride in Penn State football and will never, ever take that for granted.”
O’Brien is a native of Massachusetts. He and his wife have two sons.
O’Brien takes the place of a legendary coach. Joe Paterno was fired by the Penn State Board of Trustees back in November days after the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal broke.
Penn State announced late Friday night that a news conference will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday to introduce O’Brien as the new head coach.