Penn State announces that O’Brien has bolted


The Texans have announced that they’ll conduct a Friday press conference, at which time they’ll undoubtedly announce that Bill O’Brien has become the team’s new head coach.

O’Brien’s former employer, Penn State, already has issued a statement acknowledging that O’Brien no longer works for the school.

“Penn State would like to extend its best wishes to Bill O’Brien,” Penn State President Rodney Erickson and Athletic Director Dave Joyner said in a joint statement.  “Coach O’Brien was a tremendous leader during a challenging time at our university, guiding our student athletes to success both on the field and in the classroom.  We will always be grateful to him for his time here at Penn State.   We wish Bill, Colleen and his family the very best as they embark on this next phase in their lives.

“Penn State will move forward immediately with a national search to identify a new head football coach who will embrace our program’s foundation of academic and athletic success.”

Before Greg Schiano was fired by the Bucs and before Penn State was abandoned by O’Brien, reports emerged that Schiano may be interested in returning to the Nittany Lions.  Schiano has said nothing about his interest or lack thereof since becoming available.

Penn State has 6.5 million reasons to wish O’Brien well.  According to the Houston Chronicle, that’s the amount the Texans paid to Penn State for the right to employ O’Brien.

And that makes owner Bob McNair’s decision to pounce on O’Brien even more curious.  Instead of hiring former Bears coach Lovie Smith or Chargers offensive coordinator and former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt (both of whom took NFL teams to the Super Bowl) with no buyout, McNair paid an extra $6.5 million to hire a member of the generally wilted and malnourished Belichick coaching tree.

Based on some of the salty language used by O’Brien in an interview with and his reputation for being a bit of a hothead, it could be that McNair opted to pay for someone with some fire and brimstone instead of going with another low-key nice-guy head coach.

It may work.  It may not.  Regardless, the Texans and the Buccaneers (who hired Smith) will be compared in the coming years to see if McNair spent his extra $6.5 million wisely.

33 responses to “Penn State announces that O’Brien has bolted

  1. So $6.5 million to assist with Sandusky victim payouts/lawsuits. Penn St. needs to hire another NFL ready coach pronto.

  2. Obrien and bridgewater will shake up that division. Indy made it look easy because the rest of the south is weak

  3. Excellent choice. Its exactly what the Texans needed. To much talent on that team not to go further than they have. First task on the job….. Find a QB that doesnt throw pick Six every game !

  4. How much did O’Brien make as the Penn State head coach for those 2 years? Pretty stiff buyout fee. Looks like PSU may have gotten a free coach for 2 yrs and then some…

  5. I just can’t seem to believe that O’Brien is so good as a HC that he is worth $6.5MM more than every other coach in the world. Possible yes, but peculiar indeed. I don’t consider this to be a good hire, it just doesn’t make sense to me and I think teams can find a benefit in having a brand of being respectful as to the value of a dollar. If they don’t spend their money wisely on coaches, why would they spend money wisely on players? It’s an image thing, and a habit and style that can be infectious, and I think they missed an opportunity to make a value hire and find the best coach under the radar. That’s the play to make if I’m an NFL Owner. I want to show everybody how I can find the best coach in the world, AND that he was somebody that NOBODY else could figure out but me. That’s why you play for my team, because my vision and selection of the best FOOTBALL people is what people respect about my team. I know how to find better coaches than you, and I know how to find better players than you do, and I know how to win on Sunday better than you do, and those are reasons you should be afraid to have to play my team. This is the ultimate hardcore best football team with all the best football people in every spot.

    You WISH you had the kind of football power and achievements and mystique that the one and very best team has. Nobody is like this team. We own this whole darn sport, in terms of the trophies, in terms of the profits, and in terms of the intangibles, everything. We beat you in any way you can analyze football and it just must be miserable to know that we can one up you on anything.

    Better players and better coaches, yet they generally make less money than your guys do. Nobody is like us. There’s only room for one team like this.

  6. That’s a shocker. Thought he’d stay forever, especially with all of that unqualified support he has received from Paterno loyalists.

  7. As a Penn state fan, best of luck Coach O Brien. PSU needs to get a big gun, Urban and Dantonio look here to stay for a few years.

  8. Suggestion to Penn State: use that $6.5m for courses on situational and contractual ethics, required for all administrators, including the president and Board.

  9. Please Bob Mcnair is one of the richest men in the United States. If it doesn’t work out, there isn’t going to be anyone who will cry about a lost 6.5 mill. Your talking about the man that gave Ed Reed millions of dollars to play 8 games.

  10. O’Brien saw the success that Chip Kelly has had and decided that he needs to try his fortunes in the NFL too. Why not? I’d rather see fresh faces than the same recycled coaches in the “Good ‘Ol Boys Club”.

  11. I agree with chrisiandrew25, what’s with the use of the term “bolt” and abandoned? It’s as if you want to tarnish him regardless of the situation.

  12. The PSU haters need to give it a rest. Throwing a University and all it’s good people in the dumpster for the actions of some sick people and some truly bad people who aren’t there anymore is misdirected and shallow.

  13. It will be atleast another 10-15 years before PSU tarnished football rep recovers and the program is some what normal again. That being said they need to focus on bringing a class HC guy in for now and focus on the culture change not wins/loses/booster fans. The college itself could use the HC money more wisely investing in other things on campus.

  14. Penn State should hire Franco Harris and that dumb life sized poster of Joe paterno he is constantly carrying around to coach. Those dumb inbreds would actually think it’s Joe And be happy.

  15. O’Brien will take Bortles from UCF with the first pick in the draft. Texans will compete for the division next year like they were suppose to this year!! D coordinator is big decision. D must get better!!

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