MOUNT CARMEL -- A new year could bring a new head coach to Penn State’s Nittany Nation.
It’s no secret that Bill O’Brien has been talking with the Houston Texans about the possibility of taking over the open head coach position with the NFL team and it’s just that possibility that has Penn State faithful fearing what decision their coach may make.
It was almost two years ago exactly that the Nittany Lions named Bill O’Brien their head coach. Now Penn State fans are wondering how long that may last.
Reporters have been circulating through the month of December that O’Brien may be headed south, potentially taking a head coaching job with the NFL’s Houston Texans. ESPN is reporting that deal is “imminent.”
Al Corbacio of Mount Carmel has been a Penn State fan for more than 50 years. He just wishes the speculation would stop.
“I don’t know what he’s waiting for I mean, make a decision, I just hope we get somebody in that’s just as good as him. He’s a great guy,” said Corbacio.
Corbacio says losing O’Brien right now could hurt recruiting, with only one month left until National Letter of Intent Day.
"That’s why I wish he would make a decision because it’s going to be recruiting time, and you know the sooner the better, one way or the other,” said Corbacio.
Across Oak Street at Matlow’s Inc., a Penn State picture proudly hangs in the back of the store, owner Mark Koveleski says he agrees this speculation could hurt the 2012 PSU roster.
"I think the new recruits he’s been recruiting, I think they’ll change their mind. I think that’s why they’re there," Koveleski.
For others at the Clover Hose Company in Mount Carmel, they say it could be a let-down to see such a great coach go.
"It’s sad and it’s a bit of a disappointment because he was an exciting coach to watch. And he did a great job with the team under very difficult circumstances," said Mount Carmel Mayor J. Kevin Jones.
And if the Nittany Lions are forced to look for a new leader soon, many hope it will be a Penn State alumnus, but others have some different thoughts.
"I think they’re still trying to move away from whatever problems there were at Penn State and I think bringing outsiders brings in a fresh view and a fresh opinion on everything,” said Jones.
Any NFL team that would name Bill O’Brien a head coach would have to pay $6.4 million to Penn State per O’Brien’s contract. That’s a number most Penn State fans agree some team will be willing to pay.