Former Penn State head football coach Bill O’Brien leaving Ohio State for Boston College

Bill O'Brien played a huge part in re-establishing the Penn State football program after Joe Paterno and now he'll get his second chance as a college football head coach in his hometown.
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O'Brien
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O'Brien / Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 2012, Bill O’Brien was tasked with steadying the ship in Happy Valley. Following Joe Paterno amidst sanctions was no easy task, but in two years, the Boston Massachusetts native was off to the NFL to become the head coach of the Houston Texans. Now, he’s back home at Boston College after spurning Ohio State. 

O’Brien coached in Houston from 2014-2020, but he was ousted after orchestrating a few disastrous trades. After reclamation jobs on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama and as Bill Belichick’s offensive coordinator, O’Brien was hired by Ohio State as the team’s offensive coordinator earlier this offseason. 

However, Jeff Hafley left BC after four seasons and a win in the 2023 Fenway Bowl. Hafley had the program heading in the right direction but instead opted to become the defensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers. That move created an opening for O’Brien to get back into the head coach's chair and lead his hometown team. 

In his two years at Penn State, O’Brien managed a record 15-9, a miraculous job considering the circumstances, and handed the program off to James Franklin who made the Rose Bowl just three years later. 

O’Brien was scheduled to return to Happy Valley on November 2, as a part of Ryan Day’s staff, but instead, he’ll set up shop in the ACC. Penn State has not played Boston College since the 2014 Pinstripe Bowl, a 31-30 Nittany Lions victory. 

It wouldn’t be a surprise if BC popped up on Penn State’s non-conference schedule in the near future given the connection to O’Brien.

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