O’Brien bolts Penn State for Texans


Penn State coach Bill O’Brien reportedly told a recruit over the weekend that he wasn’t leaving.

He may not be leaving, but he sure ain’t staying.

Via multiple reports, O’Brien has struck a deal to become the head coach of the Houston Texans.  O’Brien, who spent two years at Penn State after serving as offensive coordinator of the Patriots, replaces Gary Kubiak.

It’s unknown whether and to what extent the Texans will be paying a buyout to Penn State to secure O’Brien’s services.  His most recent contract pegged the cost of an NFL team securing his services at nearly $7 million.

O’Brien becomes the latest former Belichick assistant to become an NFL head coach.  Others such as Romeo Crennel (twice), Josh McDaniels, and Eric Mangini (twice) have not fared well as head coaches at the pro level.

The Texans fired Kubiak more than three weeks ago.  They ultimately interviewed only three candidates — O’Brien, former Bears coach Lovie Smith, and interim head coach Wade Phillips.  The Texans opted not to wait for the opportunity to interview Chargers coach Ken Whisenhunt.

80 responses to “O’Brien bolts Penn State for Texans

  1. I hope the Saban bashers give this guy the same amount of ridicule. In all seriousness, what has Bill O’Brien done to make him so sought after?

  2. What is the appeal with this guy? He has 2 average seasons at Penn State & he’s worth buying out for $7m & a hefty salary? Hasn’t anyone learned yet that disciples of The Hoody fail as head coaches?

  3. PSU loses 3 coaches in a span of 2 years after having just one for around 50.Enjoy irrelevance Protect Sandusky University

  4. It has yet to be determined if the Texans overpaid for Bills services.
    But, as a spectator of the game, i can assure you that the Texans overpaid.

  5. Thanks Bill, for your integrity!

    I hope we get James Franklin, a local guy who really does love Pennsylvania.

  6. But I thought the Texans interviewed Lovie Smith first because they were “seriously considering” him? What a joke.

  7. On the surface, this is a head-scratcher. I’m not sure what the appeal is but I trust Houston knows what they’re doing. At first glance, this is keeping a seat warm but hey, I’m in a comments section talking about a NFL hire and not making those decisions for a reason.

  8. I dont understand why they’d pay $7Million for the privilege of paying OBrien the same thing they’d pay Whisenhunt.

  9. At least, this hire insures the Cowboys will be the best team in Texas, even at 8-8. Bob McNairs been sucking the same happy juice Jerrah been sucking for years.

  10. The Raiders need to take advantage of this situation and trade McGloin to the Texans for draft picks. O’brian will have a QB who’s familiar with his scheme and the Raiders can get compensation for a player they don’t believe is part of their future plans.

  11. This guy kept a sinking ship afloat prettydamn well for 2 years not to mention he didn’t let Brady walk all over him when he was with the Pats. His track record is already much better than any of Belichecks coaching tree. Not saying he’ll be great but he wont be the others.

  12. As a PSU fan (tho not a Cult member as I went to Temple) this isn’t surprising but very disappointing. PSU was starting to get 4-5* recruits again thanks to this guy. I love his work ethic and the way he develops young men. Idk if it’ll transfer to guys making millions upon millions of dollars but I had similar concerns with Chip Kelly.

    PSU administrators better get on the phone quick to get a marquee replacement or a hot-name assistant bc we cant lose the few recruits we have.

  13. Talk about a career on overdrive. No one saw this guy as a head coach 2 years ago. He must see a QB in this draft that he thinks can be his Brady, whether it be Bridgewater at 1 or one of the other players they could take later.

  14. As a Nittany Lions fan, O’Brien took us through the worst part of the penalties, so I can’t be mad at him. It’s a gamble what he is doing. He probably had a minimum of ten years of time at Penn State, and that would have been the case if he was an abject failure – – the respect for what he did would have been that high. I’m guessing he’s not going to get ten years in Houston – – but I wish him luck.

  15. Let me get this straight… Penn State can’t get anyone to take the job so they get this cat. In 2 years he goes .500 and now, a guy who was the only one who would take the Penn job, is now a NFL head coach? Was Marty, Cowher, Dungy, Gruden, Shanahan, Lovie, Del Rio, Wisenhunt, Haley, Wade, or ANY current OC or DC not available?

  16. Go figure, wait until an hour or so before new year’s eve to break the news. No PR going on there. BoB did a great job during a tough time at PSU. He did a wonderful job as a leader and a coach. And I admire him as a coach. Used to admire him as a man. But how do you preach to players about loyalty to a university, recruit players in the same vein, then bolt for the NFL? If that was what you wanted, you should have taken a different path. PSU is a destination, not a stepping stone. And the players you coached and recruited deserve(d) more. After all your talk you are no better than any one of the egomaniacs in the profession. College football is in trouble. Money rules. Passion is a distant second. But I guess that ship sailed a long time ago. I hope Mauti finds you and kicks your ass.

  17. McGloin to the Texans makes a heck of a lot of sense. Even as a backup he could help shorten the learning curve in the QB room

  18. This man and coach walked into a very bad situation and took control of it. As a former Penn state player as well as a Penn citizen I thank him for his time at Penn State . Nobody ever thought he was going to stay long and I wish him the best next up the fired Tampa coach if he can do the same he will be fine

  19. Good luck, O’Brien, thanks for helping this team pick up some of the pieces.

    I am hearing PSU wants Greg Schiano, not a bad pick. He coached an average college football team to 6 bowls games (5-1) in 11 seasons. I know his record wasn’t great but his players weren’t that good.

  20. The Bill Walsh coaching tree has produced Mike Holmgren, George Seifert, Jon Gruden, Jim Harbaugh, and Andy Reid. I think Bill Belichick is a fantastic head coach, but disciples haven’t done so well after leaving New England.

  21. Not a Texans fan, but here’s my two cents. Obviously, front office people make awful coaching hires all the time. But there’s a lot we don’t know about the guy. People are all over the Belichick thing, but unlike McDaniels, Crennel, and Mangini, he tried to make his bones at the college level, gathering head coaching experience. He’s also been a coordinator with NFL experience. Neither Penn State or New England spelled disaster. He’s going into a relatively fortuitous situation (there are worse building blocks than JJ Watt, Duane Brown, and Teddy Bridgewater) without a crazy owner who’s been pretty patient. Only the Colts look like real competition. They’ve had 3 weeks to think about this position. John Harbaugh (ST coordinator), Coughlin (fired from J’ville), McCarthy (tutor of A. Smith & A. Brooks), Payton (a couple of decent years with the Cowboys), and Tomlin (1 year with Minnesota) didn’t bring jaw-dropping resumes. If you’re a discouraged Texans fan, give the guy a chance.

  22. Well, I think Lovie would have been the better choice, but then again, I didn’t want my Niners to go for Harbaugh and they haven’t missed the playoffs since so what do I know?

  23. Come on,, man!! What, he’s brilliant by association? The Belichick tree? Is it poison ivy passing by touch? Are these football people idiots? Pedigree? You got to be kidding me. Oh, OK, if Belichick thinks he’s good then he must be MUCH BETTER than anyone we were thinking of interviewing. I’m not at all inspired by this decision. (he might be good, though)

  24. As a Texans fan I hope this move works out but I’m not very confident that it will. I’m very disappointed in the lazy approach the organization took in making this hire after reportedly interviewing only three candidates which included Lovie Smith – a defensive-minded version of Kubiak and Wade Phillips – a guy they honestly would never consider hiring but did him a favor by giving him an interview.

  25. hey on the bright side the browns are looking at mcdaniels, the hoodie are whatever you might call him really might be the mastermind look at the tuna without him the one thing about josh he went home and tried to learn more, never hire hoodies guys, he does it all he is like a football jedi

  26. As a Colts fan, I’d like to sincerely thank the texans for continuing their life long tradition of making the worst decisions possible.

    This hire will ensure at least 3 more years of Colts AFC South dominance.


  27. The guy never moved to State College. What college coach doesn’t ‘live in the community? That should’ve been the tip off that he wasn’t committed to Penn State.

    I hope Penn State gets someone truly committed to that community. I thought Tom Bradley should’ve gotten the job anyhow. He wasn’t involved with what happened there, he’s an excellent football coach, and he is proud of being a part of that community.

  28. I agree with the earlier posts… So this guy comes into a mess of a situation at Penn St and wins a decent amount of games with lost scholarships and sanctions. So what! What has he done that makes him so sought after? If he came into the interview and blew them away like a Mike Tomlin or something then O-K. But I just don’t see it. Horizontal move by Houston.

  29. I still don’t think he’s that great a coach. They act like the Penn State was deal just a horrible hand and they played with two less players on the field while blindfolded.
    The team he inherited was not that bad.
    He wasn’t walking on water.
    This isn’t sour grapes.. I just don’t see where a bunch of crying Penn State fans made him a better coach and what he did was all that great.

  30. Organizations often make the mistake of thinking their getting a great coach, when they are just getting their assistant.

  31. They should have waited to interview Wisenhunt. It’s not like anyone is beating down O’Brien’s door to hire him.

  32. Players that weren’t on the Texans for most of the year that will be there next year: Bridgewater, Foster, Cushing, Daniels, and I’m probably missing someone. This team will be in the playoffs next year.

  33. At the very least, we know this man can deal with adversity. Nobody could have expected him to do much in the situation at Penn State. But he kept them relevant and imho, he did a great job not letting the Sandusky legacy send the program into a long-term tailspin. What Sandusky did could easily have been enough to let people forego expectations, yet he didn’t let that become an excuse.

    Will he succeeded at the NEXT level? Who knows? But I have to respect the job he did in not letting the kids on that squad just wither away and quit. Nobody could have expected what he was able to accomplish.

  34. “Penn State is my dream job.”

    — Bill O’Brien 2011

    “Houston Texans is my dream job.”

    — Bill O’Brien 2014

    “Its a dream to work under Bill Bellichick again.”

    — Bill O’Brien 2016

  35. Obrien’s appeal is that without any scholarships and a freshman quarterback this year he led penn state to back to back winning records. The penn state quarterback was one of the better quarterbacks in the big ten statistically. Obrien’s expertise is supposedly developing quarterbacks which is what the texans need.

  36. Scum. The guy knew what he was getting into at penn st and bolted at the earliest offer for another job. Pure trash – don’t care about him being a family man; he is only as good as his word, and his word is worthless.

  37. More that a bit disappointed that another college coach has turned his back on his players. Just once I want to see a school make its coaches honor their contracts.

    But the whole college system is broken anyway.

  38. Are all these owners and GMs this ignorant? They are looking under the wrong tree. You need to shake Parcells, Walsh or Holgrems. They have all produced multiple winners. Belicheck is the fruit, not the tree.

  39. While I agree that what he did at New England was not any different than the success that Weis or McDaniels shared, but what he did at PSU given that all the talent fled because of the sanctions (limited scholarships, no Bowl games etc) he did very, very well.
    The pundits expected 2 win seasons and he delivered a competitive football team. Grant it, it doesn’t guarantee success as an NFL HC, he so far has probably had more success than other Belichick disciples.

    And really, what candidates are out there that really blow your socks off?

  40. Have any of BB’s proteges gone on to be successful head coaches? Crennel? Mangini? McDaniels? Weis?

  41. Wade -” AWWW shucks! I deserved the job after I made sure that we would get the number 1 pick!”

  42. As a PSU alum, we KNEW going in that BOB was looking to go back to the NFL. The fact that he stayed two years is a plus.

    However, BOB saved recruits, sold the program as a ambassador, and got some big names in! Developed McGloin well, Hackenburg is an absolute GEM! (let’s see what happens to him without BOB)

    Thanks Bill, I was just starting to like you. Still respect you. As a Jaguars fan, it SUCKS that you are coming to the AFC South, where I can count on two losses per year. The next coach we get won’t be as good as you were. You did all you could here. You’re leaving the program at a good time in good shape. Coulda left out the big baby fit at the end- you would have retained all the class we thought you had and kept that ‘hothead’ rumor just that….now it’s out.

    Best of luck BOB. You came into an impossible situation and may be the only coach in the history of the NCAA to follow a legend and succeed. (No, FSU, Jimbo was eased into the program and has taken years to build in a horrible conference)

  43. jerrahsucks says:
    Dec 31, 2013 10:49 PM
    At least, this hire insures the Cowboys will be the best team in Texas, even at 8-8.
    Cowgirls aren’t the best team in Texas now, despite the record. Baylor could beat then!

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