Though there’s be no official confirmation, there have been many reports in the last 24 hours that Penn State head football coach Bill O’Brien will leave the school to become head coach of the Houston Texans.
O’Brien began at Penn State early last year, soon after the Sandusky scandal became public and legendary coach Joe Paterno lost his job after running the football program for decades.
During his two seasons, O’Brien coached the team to a 15-9 record and received national accolades for his work.
“I think he did a pretty good job. I think he rebuilt some credibility, and I think the fans came back, and it was some exciting football,” said Charlie Gutshall, of Hampden Township, Cumberland County.
In July of 2012, the NCAA announced its unprecedented sanctions against the school and its football program. In a statement that day, O’Brien said, “I am committed for the long term to Penn State and our student athletes.”
There were reports after his first season, he was being courted to return to the NFL. He previously worked as an assistant under Bill Belichick for the New England Patriots from 2007-2011. O’Brien stayed but reportedly renegotiated the buyout in his contract from almost $20 million to nearly $6.5 million.
“Showing up and letting players know that you were going to be there for them and then leaving, not cool,” said C.J. Evers, of Wormleysburg, Cumberland County.
“It’s all about the almighty dollar, you know. It’s a shame. It really is,” said Andrew Stoner, a Penn State graduate from New Cumberland.
Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner has scheduled a news conference Thursday at 11 a.m., where there will be questions about who university leaders will seek to replace O’Brien.
“They should have, maybe, taken a little more time to make sure that whoever they brought in was committed to Penn State for the long term. So, I think the next guy, whoever it’s going to be, should be more of a Penn Stater and perhaps less of a mercenary,” said Gutshall.