Ex-Penn State Football coach Bill O’Brien to join Nick Saban’s Alabama staff

Former Penn State Football and Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien is returning to college football, hired to join Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama.

Bill O’Brien is returning to the college football coaching ranks, as the former Penn State Football head coach has been hired by Nick Saban as the Alabama Crimson Tide’s new offensive coordinator, following a tumultuous six-plus seasons at the helm of the NFL’s Houston Texans.

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports was first to report that O’Brien is Tuscaloosa bound.

O’Brien guided Penn State Football to a 15-9 record, shepherding the Nittany Lions through the most difficult days of the sanctions in the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal that led to Joe Paterno’s firing in 2011.

During his time as Penn State Football head coach, O’Brien’s Nittany Lions were limited to just 65 scholarship athletes from 2012 until the NCAA’s sanctions were lifted in 2014.

While Penn State Football was not bowl eligible during O’Brien’s tenure, he was named Big Ten Coach of The Year, Maxwell Coach of The Year, and took home the Bear Bryant Award for his efforts in 2012.

O’Brien’s tenure with the Texans was a rocky one.

Despite making the NFL Playoffs four times, O’Brien’s Texans only won a pair of postseason games and his struggles seemed to mount once he was given full personnel control as general manager in 2020, despite the Texans leaving that position unfilled in 2019.

Perhaps returning to the college game as a playcaller will be a springboard for O’Brien to return either to the NFL or big-time college football as a head coach in the future.

However, regardless of what O’Brien is able to accomplish at Alabama, he left an indelible mark on Penn State Football by keeping the program afloat and the players together during the most turbulent period in its history.