SCRANTON -- Penn State’s head coaching job is now apparently vacant. ESPN, the Associated Press, and the Houston Chronicle are reporting that Bill O’Brien will be taking on the head coaching position with the NFL’s Houston Texans.
The news hit Nittany Nation right before the New Year.
Rich Bailey of Scranton is a huge Penn State fan, his daughter and son-in-law are alumni. News of losing the head football coach surprised and upset him.
"I didn’t think he was going to bail out the way they were saying earlier. They must have made him a good offer," said Bailey.
Details haven’t been disclosed just yet, but O’Brien’s move did not surprise Anthony Bodtmann of Scranton as he ordered his New Year’s lunch at the Viewmont Diner in Dickson City.
"He is an NFL-caliber coach and I can’t blame him at all, I mean, money talks a lot,” said Bodtmann.
John Dietz of Clarks Summit spent New Year’s Day watching college football at Good Fellow’s in Scranton and says he expected this news.
“It’s unfortunate he’s leaving Penn State but I can’t blame the guy for doing it. You’re always looking to get to the NFL, that’s the pinnacle of success as a coach,” said Dietz.
Now with Bill O’Brien heading to the Texans, many Penn State fans are wondering if some recruits could also be jumping ship, including one that plays at Scranton Prep.
Noah Beh has verbally committed to Penn State, but players won’t sign letters of intent until February.
Some fans are nervous current players could look to transfer as well.
"They’re saying the quarterback might jump ship too, because he went to Penn State just to be with O’Brien,” said Bailey.
Now the speculation is circulating through Scranton of who will fill O’Brien’s shoes, shoes that most fans realized would need to be filled sooner rather than later.
"Just a matter of time before he went. If it wasn’t this year it’d be next year. There’s a lot of jobs every year out there in the NFL,” said Dietz.