Bill O’Brien will return to Penn State next season after interviewing with two NFL teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles.
A Penn State official confirmed Thursday night that O’Brien would return for the 2013 season. O’Brien informed the university Thursday that he intends to return and will not interview further with NFL teams.
O’Brien also told the Harrisburg Patriot-News that he will return.
“I’m not a one-and-done guy,” O’Brien said in an interview with the paper. “I made a commitment to these players at Penn State and that’s what I am going to do. I’m not [going to] cut and run after one year, that’s for sure.”
Joe Linta, O’Brien’s agent, told the Associated Press that the coach’s “heartstrings” were with Penn State. O’Brien made loyalty a theme of the 2012 season and was among those responsible for the univeristy’s “One Team” marketing efforts last season.
The decision capped a hectic few days in which O’Brien’s name was associated with openings in Cleveland and Philadelphia. The Penn State coach reportedly interviewed for both positions before reaffirming his commitment to Penn State.
The Patriot-News reported that O’Brien will receive a raise of his $2.3 million salary, along with considerations regarding control of the program. Those issues likely include recruiting and scheduling concerns, along with raises and contract extensions for assistant coaches.
O’Brien, 43, went 8-4 in his first season as Penn State’s head coach. He was named the Big Ten’s and Maxwell Club’s coach of the year and received extensive praise for the way he navigated the football team through the NCAA sanctions imposed this summer.
O’Brien’s decision to return prevented Penn State from entering a difficult offseason position. Current players remain free to transfer to other teams without penalty until Penn State begins preseason practice in August.
Had O’Brien left, many players would have considered taking advantage of the special rule, which the NCAA put in place following the sanctions.
Players responded positively on Twitter. Tight end Garry Gilliam said, “Practice what you preach #ThingsBOBdoes love my coach.”
O’Brien signed a five-year deal last January worth $2.3 million per year. On the same day he signed the contract, O’Brien signed a rider that would extend his contract in the event of NCAA sanctions.
The rider went into effect last July, when the NCAA imposed sanctions on Penn State, including a four-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions. On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Corbett announced that Pennsylvania was filing a federal anti-trust suit against the NCAA seeking to overturn the sanctions.
Though O’Brien interviewed with NFL teams, he did not receive an offer. O’Brien’s initial contract included a clause that would have made his buyout $9.2 million this year.
A university official said last November that the buyout would also include the four years extended by the rider, increasing it to more than $18 million. It’s unclear whether the buyout will be affected by the contract renegotiation. O’Brien also was due an 11 percent bonus for participating in a bowl game.
Article Courtesy of the Allentown Morning Call.