Bill O’Brien: The Coach Fans Didn’t Want is Now the One Nobody Wants to Leave

Does anybody remember just two short years ago when Penn State  hired an unknown guy to replace the legendary Joe Paterno as head coach of the Nittany Lions? There was public outcry from both fans and famous alumni. Those who were upset with the hiring felt it was rushed and not thought through. Some were also upset that someone with ties to the school was not hired for the job. Now, there is some public outcry once again. This time, it’s from now-adoring fans who don’t want to see their beloved Bill O’Brien leave the university.

With reports that NFL teams are again interested in O’Brien and the recent news that the school lowered his contract buyout, making it easier for NFL teams to lure him away, it seems a forgone conclusion that O’Brien will leave Penn State…. at some point. Whether that day comes in the coming weeks or next year, it seems to be a likely scenario.

When O’Brien was hired to coach at Penn State, few knew much about him. I’ll admit, I only knew him as the coach who got into Tom Brady’s face on the sideline during a New England Patriots game. However, O’Brien brought an impressive resume with him to Happy Valley, one that included work in both the collegiate and professional levels of football.

Despite the anonymity of  O’Brien’s name and the stir he caused with some when he decided to break tradition by placing player names on the backs of the jerseys, the Penn State community quickly turned and offered praise and support to the new coach. In his first year as a head coach, he had to face unbelievable circumstances when the NCAA hammered the school with sanctions stemming from the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Instead of sulking and making excuses, O’Brien went about his business and worked hard everyday. That had work resulted in an eight-win season and earned him the respect of an entire university.

O’Brien followed up his successful 2012 campaign with a seven-win season in 2013. Things were more of a struggle for the Nittany Lions in O’Brien’s second year due to scholarship reductions and the fact that so many talented leaders had graduated from the previous team.

Now, with all the talk to O’Brien leaving for the NFL, fans are once again upset. No one wants to see the man who helped keep the program afloat when it could have totally sunk leave. I myself love the culture that O’Brien has in place and the way he does things at Penn State. However, I’m not going to be mad or blame the guy if he leaves for the NFL. He’s already done far more for the school than I could have hoped for in the wake of everything that happened.

The day that O’Brien decides to leave Penn State, whenever that may be, is sure to be a sad one. However, the Penn State community can take solace in the fact that the groundwork he has done over the past two years will set the program up for continued success in the future.

Follow VBR Lead Editor Barry Leonard Jr. on Twitter

Topics: Bill O'Brien, Football, Penn State Nittany Lions

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  • Billyboy172

    Well if he is staying or leaving I wish he would just come out and say what he is going to do. Barry you seem to think his leaving will not have an negative impact. I’ll bet if he announces before National Signing day he is leaving a number of the verbal recruits will pull their commitments. Especially O’Conner who is coming to PSU mainly because O’Brien is there. It wouldn’t surprise me if others decommitted to because the allure was BOB’s connections to the NFL. But only time will tell. If BOB wanted to be an NFL coach and it appears that was his main focus before taking the PSU job he should have just stayed in the NFL. I feel he used PSU to get something he wanted. But now he is between a rock and a hard place. He most likely promised Hack and others he would be there throughout their careers so they would keep their commitments. IMO.

  • BSORaiderErie

    If he is leaving then I think that it should be done maybe during the signing period,this way the school doesn’t get blamed for a “football culture” and they then take away our 1922 Rose Bowl Victory and trophy! I know we didn’t play in the Rose Bowl ,just a comment. JoePa designed the Football Program to succeed no matter who stays or goes and if there’s a change the sooner the better! Like I said before the hiring of BOB, I wanted JoePa deciple, but BOB has done a good job for never being a headcoach before and some offensive innovation with good players with plenty of high character young men and keep them graduating ! The next guy whenever it is ,maybe a Penn State guy, but right now just support the guy as long as he does what is expeted of him overall. JoePa didn’t put 108,000 seats in a stadium for him,it was for our future, and his philosophy is still being practiced by every coach at Penn State! There is not any time when Penn State Head Coaches don’t discuss graduation at media meetings and such, or graduation rates and that should be another huge tradition in our favor that Freeh didn’t even discuss! I still remember watching a sports show and it was during this National Media created fiasco ,and the girls volleyball team won a Championship, the Wrestling team won something bid that day too,and the girls Basketball team was doing decent and the one guest speaker seriously said that he just thught Penn State was a football school,just like the NCAA said? Now with the absolute reverse society feelings and perceptions there will be no shortage of applicants for a headcoach opening.

  • Jim

    I never hear the name Dave Joyner mentioned when the tributes are handed out. Among the greats in the PSU Athletic program. None stands taller that Dr. Dave. This guy is a ” winner” at everything he touches.

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