New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien is the new head coach of Pennsylvania State University football team. O'Brien is the 15th head coach of the Nittany Lions in their 125-year history, according to a press release from the team.
O'Brien is replacing Joe Paterno, who was fired because of his role in the child sexual-abuse scandal centered on former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. O'Brien is the first Penn State head coach who has no previous ties with the team to be appointed in the past 50 years.
O'Brien's appointment was announced Friday by Rodney Erickson, Penn State's president, and Dave Joyner, its acting athletic director. The new coach will be introduced on the Penn State campus Saturday.
The Penn State football program has a great legacy and has contributed enormously to our university community, Erickson said in a statement.
A program of this caliber requires a special kind of leader -- a leader who will embrace that legacy and maintain the university's commitment to excellence on the field and in the classroom. We have that leader in coach O'Brien, and I look forward to working with him in his new role, he said.
O'Brien does not have any head coaching experience, but he shares the same alma mater -- Brown University -- as former coach Paterno.
O'Brien has said he is excited about the new challenge.
I cannot tell you how excited I am to get started, meet the team, meet the football alumni, and meet all of the people that make this university so special. As head coach of this special football program, it is my responsibility to ensure that this program represents the highest level of character, respect, and integrity in everything we do. That includes my coaching staff, our players, and everyone involved in the football program. There is tremendous pride in Penn State football and will never, ever take that for granted, O'Brien said in a statement.
O'Brien has a tough task ahead. Apart from moving forward a program tarnished by the child sex-abuse scandal, he will also have to win over many players and staff members who are reportedly not in favor of an outsider as their coach.