Posted December 31, 2013

Bill O’Brien to be named Texans’ new head coach

AFC South, Houston Texans
Bill O'Brien heads back to the NFL after recording a 15-9 record in two seasons at Penn  State. (Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times/MCT via Getty Images)

Bill O’Brien heads back to the NFL after recording a 15-9 record in two seasons at Penn State. (Nabil K. Mark/Centre Daily Times/MCT via Getty Images)

One of the NFL’s most coveted head coaching candidates is off the market. Bill O’Brien and the Houston Texans have agreed to a deal to make O’Brien the team’s new coach, according to multiple reports. The move will be announced officially on Thursday, the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain reported.

O’Brien has been the Penn State head coach for the past two years. He took over the program amid extremely tumultuous conditions, with the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal still being felt. Despite NCAA sanctions that limited his available scholarships, O’Brien posted an 8-4 record in 2012 and a 7-5 mark this season.

The 44-year-old O’Brien briefly flirted with the NFL last offseason, reportedly with spots like Cleveland and Philadelphia. Instead, he stayed in Happy Valley and received a $1 million raise in June.

As part of O’Brien’s return to Penn State for 2013 was a reduction in his contract buyout should he take an NFL position, ESPN reported. The change lowered O’Brien’s buyout from $19.33 million to a much more manageable $6.5 million.

Several of the teams who fired their coaches either during or immediately after the 2013 regular season were believed to be interested in O’Brien — Detroit, Cleveland, Washington, Tampa Bay and Minnesota are the other franchises with openings currently. SI’s Michael Rosenberg wrote Monday that the Lions would be a perfect match for O’Brien.

“If O’Brien wants to leave, the best job for him is in Detroit,” Rosenberg wrote. “If the Lions are smart, they will realize they need a coach who can revive Stafford. O’Brien is that guy. There are no perfect marriages in the NFL. But this has a chance to be pretty close.”

With the Texans, O’Brien will find a team that won the AFC South in both 2011 and 2012, before collapsing amid 14 straight losses to close this season. Houston holds the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft, which could be used on either JaDeveon Clowney or Teddy Bridgewater (among others), should those players declare for the draft.

Meanwhile, Penn State may already have a new candidate in mind: ex-Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Nittany Lions were prepared to “make a strong push” for Schiano’s services. Schiano was a Penn State assistant from 1990-95.

82 comments
GoPSULions
GoPSULions

As a PSU Alumnus and fan, I thank him for the excellent job he has done and wish him well.

ElvisHitler
ElvisHitler

This guy used sandusky child rape as a stepping stone for his career. Scum of the Earth.

Terry
Terry

The sense of entitlement displayed on this board by Penn St. fans is puzzling.

O'Brien took on the most toxic job in American sports and did much better than what was expected.

He provided a glimmer of hope and pride during an extremely dark moment in American sports history.

Wish the man well and move on with your life as he has.

mystafugee
mystafugee

It's just too hilarious seeing Penn St. fans talk about integrity.  

Richard B
Richard B

All that talk about how O'Brien would never leave Penn State and remain faithful to his players lasted no more than a few weeks.

6marK6
6marK6

Very good coach and very good hire by Houston. I don't think the haters have any idea what he inherited at Happy Valley.

dandogwood
dandogwood

Penn State is better off with out Billy O. Average coach average man.

MrArlington
MrArlington

15-9 over two years at PSU. What has he done to show he'll be successful NFL coach? I'd take Lovie Smith over this nub any day.

TexasLonghorns
TexasLonghorns

Mack Brown should be the next coach at Penn State.

bornindetroit
bornindetroit

No sure thing. Not sure why he became such supposed hot property???

Thomas13
Thomas13

This could be Butch Davis (the U to the Browns) all over again. That said, best of luck to O'Brien and PSU.

Aloha!
Aloha!

What is so special about this guy that everybody wanted him. I agree, he lacks loyalty.

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

Given the track record of former Belicheck assistants as head coaches in the NFL I don't see this as a very good move by the Texans. O'Brien posted mediocre records in two years at Penn State against weak competition. 


I would think that the last thing Penn State would want is to hire someone as morally bankrupt as Schiano.

Dali
Dali

One last comment from me and then I'm moving on.  O'Brien asked, begged, some of the PSU players to stay when they had the opportunity to move to another school without problems.  He asked Hackenberg to come to PSU even though he could have gone to Alabama.  He praised the kids on the team for staying and making Penn State proud.  And then he turns around and leaves and abandons those very players.  Maybe I shouldn't be upset that O'Brien is leaving.  Maybe I should be glad that someone with so little character and class is no longer around.  Time to move forward and get a coach at PSu that really wants to be there.  

Jerkzilla
Jerkzilla

2 great moves.  Texans aren't that far from competing again, and Schiano isn't capable of dealing with adults.


PSU fans, yer never gonna have another Paterno.  Schiano might stick around for a while, because he already blew his wad in the pros, but yer just another school now.

Dali
Dali

I agree Paterno was wrong, but O'Brien was supposed to help everyone move past that.  He should take a good look at Sumerlin, the coach at Texas A&M who turned down all requests from the NFL so he could stay and coach the kids he recruited.  O'Brien has just turned out to be a huge disappointment and that is why people are upset.   Thought he had what it took to turn things around.  Guess I was wrong.  I can only hope the next coach will bleed Blue and White and not green (as in money) like O'Brien.  

RB888
RB888

There is nothing wrong with what O'Brien did. Bunch of crybabies.

dandogwood
dandogwood

Screw Lyin O'Brien.  Penn State is better off with this bum leaving.

TheSconnieNation
TheSconnieNation

Classy Penn State fans.  In your eyes O'Brien is scum for leaving early, but Paterno is a saint even though he enabled one of your own to destroy the lives of children.  Flawless logic. 

ElvisHitler
ElvisHitler

The stench of sandusky will follow this loser for the rest of his miserable life. Terrible coach as well.

stagger
stagger

Holy crapcakes. Apparently, from the comments, when you accept the PSU job, you're supposed to stay until you die. Run Schiano, run!

sptsguy12345
sptsguy12345

Rode emotions & anger at how P.State was treated to decent records and now he's cashing in…  doesn't translate to motivating PRO's.  look for him to be out at Houston in 2015 after posting about 5 wins in 2 years.  

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

Funny , 4 days ago he tells his prized recruit Thomas Holly he isn't going. Another LYING coach to the kids? Class act Bill

Chris10
Chris10

Yeah you PSU fans are so loyal, if he'd have been 9-15 instead of 15-9 you'd be calling for him to be fired.  So he gets to leave on his own terms.  I'm sure most of you would stay where you were if another job offered more money, yeah right.  

Dali
Dali

He's a traitor and a jerk.  How many times did he profess how much he loved Penn State and how he loved his players and now he leaves them to hang in the wind.  Penn State never meant anything to him except as a means to get an NFL job.  If he can't handle the pressure at PSU how is he going to handle the pressure in the NFL.  Beware Texans because he'll leave in two years for another of his perceived dream jobs.  I hope he loses every game in Houston.  

muser
muser

A horrible decision....

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Why would any school want Schiano?

Annabel
Annabel

Am most interested in hearing how he handled this with his recruits like Hackenberg.  Hopefully some "reporter" will get the facts of how he sold the number 1 QB recruit on PSU knowing full well he was leaving for the NFL at any time.

RichardCHamilton
RichardCHamilton

Who is going to pay the 6 million dollars O'Brien owes PSU for breaking his contract?

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@Aloha!Lacks loyalty?  Because he took what he considers to be a better job?  Nice logic.   Oh, and for some reason, I don't guess that you break out the loyalty card when you are yelling for some coach to get fired.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@DaliAre you going to be as upset and concerned about character when a coach leaves his current team to take the Penn State job?

HaroldLove
HaroldLove

How's this: Paterno was wrong and so is O'Brien. Each comment on O'Brien doesn't really need a Paterno modifier.

TheSconnieNation
TheSconnieNation

@ElvisHitler Why would Sandusky follow him?  That stench is following the miserable Paterno legacy.  Choosing football and wins over the lives of children.  You stay classy Penn State.

HaroldLove
HaroldLove

Crippled program that needs transitional stability. This joker was looking for an out last December. Patriots cheater. Good riddance.

jmorris19us
jmorris19us

@WHO*IS*ESPN show me a winning coach that tells his kids hey i am the coach now but I am fielding better offers...Zero

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@DaliFootball is a business.  Coaches come and go.  Get over it.  Unless PSU hires and unemployed guy or hires from within, it will be taking a coach from another team, and the odds are pretty good that that coach also said he loved being where he was at.  Oh, and your hopes of the Texans losing every game under Bill O'Brien?  That dream will likely last all of a game or two.

TheSconnieNation
TheSconnieNation

@HaroldLove BIG difference in what they did.  To even compare them is disgusting and disrespectful to those who had their lives crushed.  But hey if that's the mindset of PSU fans, then the joke is closer to reality:  State Penn.

PittPanthers90
PittPanthers90

@TheSconnieNation@ElvisHitler 

Because the cultists at State Penn think that Joe Pedo Pa could do no wrong.  When they rioted over Joe Pedo Pa being fired they even sung and chanted around his statue (like it was the golden calf ).  Remember BOB is an outsider, and as such to the cultists he is more to blame than Joe Pedo pa who oversaw and JOE PA KNEW!

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@HaroldLoveSo if a currently employed coach gets the PSU job, are you going to be worried about the stability of the team that he leaves?

stagger
stagger

You would think PSU fans would've learned that, in the big scheme of things, it's just a football team and he's just another coach. Quit making it more important than it really is...

Lohikaarme
Lohikaarme

Taxpayers everywhere. The NFL is heavily subsidized in more than one way by cities and states.

PittPanthers90
PittPanthers90

@stagger "You would think PSU fans would've learned that, in the big scheme of things, it's just a football team and he's just another coach. Quit making it more important than it really is..."

You REALLY think the cultists can learn?!

LOL