After two seasons resurrecting the Penn State football program, the former New England Patriots assistant has accepted the head coaching position for the Houston Texans, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen:
Filed to ESPN from me and @mortreport: Bill O'Brien has reached agreement to become the new head coach of the Houston Texans, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 1, 2014
Texans are expected to introduce Bill O'Brien as their new head coach by Saturday, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 1, 2014
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle provides O'Brien's comments on the situation:
“I’m excited to be here,” O’Brien told reporters. “This is a great opportunity with a great organization.”
“In your lifetime, you only get certain opportunities so many times,” he continued. “This is a great opportunity to work with an owner like Mr. McNair and an organization like the Texans. It is a very exciting time for myself and my family.
SportsCenter reported that the deal was official on Thursday, January 2:
The Texans have officially announced the hiring of Bill O'Brien as their new head coach. O'Brien inherits a team that went 2-14 last year.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 2, 2014
College Football Talk notes that Penn State will hold its own gathering on Thursday as well:
Penn State will hold an 11 am ET press conference tomorrow, presumably to discuss Bill O’Brien’s departure for the Texans.— CollegeFootballTalk (@CFTalk) January 1, 2014
John McClain of The Houston Chronicle reports that it's a 5-year deal:
Don't know total value yet but Bill O'Brien is getting a five-year contract with Texans.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) January 1, 2014
Nick Mathews of the Houston Chronicle supplies some of Wade Phillips' thoughts:
Texans' Wade Phillips: “Usually when somebody gets a job and you don’t know anything, you’re probably not involved."— Nick Mathews (@Nick_Mathews) January 1, 2014
Wade Phillips: “I think they felt (Bill O’Brien) was best for their football team and I can deal with that."— Nick Mathews (@Nick_Mathews) January 1, 2014
Wade Phillips: “I trust (the Texans’) ownership and they made the decision they made. They felt they did what’s best ...— Nick Mathews (@Nick_Mathews) January 1, 2014
Fox Sports' Alex Marvez reports that O'Brien has already made changes to the Texans' staff:
O'Brien met briefly with assistants to fire them. Didn't ask for feedback on current players. Expect heavy @patriots feel to new staff— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) January 4, 2014
This doesn't come as a major shock.
The 44-year-old O'Brien rose the ranks from offensive assistant to wide receivers coach to quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator in a matter of five years when he was with the Patriots from 2007 through 2011, and his success there helped him land the head coaching job in Happy Valley.
He took over the Nittany Lions when seemingly no one else wanted to. Not only did O'Brien succeed the legendary Joe Paterno, but he also dealt with a lack of scholarships, a decimated roster due to transfers and a bowl ban following the highly publicized Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal within the football program.
O'Brien led the Nittany Lions to an improbable 8-4 record in 2012 and followed it up with a 7-5 season in 2013.
Following the 2012 campaign, he earned the Big Ten Coach of the Year Award from both media and fellow coaches, as well as Bear Bryant Coach of the Year honors. He received some NFL interest but stayed committed to Penn State.
The interest only escalated this December, and after a seemingly endless line of rumors, O'Brien finally agreed to test his head coaching prowess at the highest level.
O'Brien isn't the most experienced head coach around, but there's no doubting his ability as a leader.
His development of quarterbacks Matt McGloin, who had a career year as a senior in 2012 and has proven serviceable in the NFL, and Christian Hackenberg, who was impressive as a true freshman in 2013, speaks strongly to that fact.
Houston is clearly in need of direction, and O'Brien is just the man to provide it.