Penn State held a news conference Thursday to officially announce head football coach Bill O’Brien is leaving Happy Valley for the NFL. University officials said they plan to hire a replacement sooner rather than later.
Penn State University’s athletic director said the search for a new head coach will be a quick one. He expects to find a new coach within a few days. Officials would not comment on who is in the running for the job.
“We are happy for coach O’Brien and this tremendous opportunity for him. At the same time we are very grateful for the last two years here at Penn State,” said Penn State University Athletic Director Dave Joyner.
O’Brien coached the Nittany Lions for two seasons and will now be head coach of the Houston Texans. This leaves Penn State officials looking for a new head coach.
“Our job is going to be to select the next great head football coach at Penn State and to get the best football coach available,” Joyner said.
Joyner would not say who the candidates are, or if Penn State officials interviewed anyone. Joyner said he is looking for a coach who plans to be at Penn State for a long time. Defensive Line Coach Larry Johnson was named the football team’s interim head coach. Penn State fans have mixed reactions about O’Brien leaving.
“I think it was the right decision for Bill himself. He’s wanted to coach in the NFL, he said that. I think it’s a shame he left, especially since he told some of the recruits and the kids that he would stay,” said Tony Naccarelli.
“I think a lot of us are really disappointed with him leaving, but hopefully someone better will come along,” Amy Hough said.
“Take care of your family, it’s about the money, and it’s the NFL, you can’t really say no to them,” said Behailu Strait.
Penn State’s athletic director said there is a search committee made of up six members who will select the new head football coach. Again, university officials expect this decision to be made sometime within the next few days.