On New Year’s Eve, word broke that Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O’Brien had indeed accepted a deal to become the next head coach of the Houston Texans, thus ending his two-year run in Happy Valley after taking over for Joe Paterno following the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
O’Brien did a fantastic job in State College for the two years that he was there. Given the hand that he was dealt shortly after arriving with the sanctions that were handed down, his performance was actually nothing short of miraculous.
However, everyone knew coming in that O’Brien’s dream was to coach in the NFL and he is now leaving to follow that.
So now, Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner and the rest of the Lions brass are in search of a new person to head up one of the more legendary programs in the Big Ten.
He recently spoke about the departure of O’Brien, as well as how he wants the search for a new coach to move rather swiftly:
“We need to do everything we can to support the needs of our student-athletes during this period,” Joyner said. “I am very confident in Larry Johnson, the coaches and staff in maintaining continuity and working with the returning players and recruits.”
“We intend to move quickly in our search to identify the next great Penn State football coach,” Joyner added.
As f the moment, the list of potential candidates is short, but not short on recognition, as it includes the likes of former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, current Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin and current Miami Hurricanes coach–and alum–Al Golden.