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PSU looking to hire new coach in wake of O'Brien's departure

Updated: Thursday, January 2 2014, 06:25 PM CST
Reported by: Jesse Knutson

STATE COLLEGE -- The news is out – Penn State’s head football coach Bill O’Brien is headed to the NFL.O’Brien’s resignation became official today when Penn State’s athletic director addressed the media this morning.

“Bill O’Brien has informed Penn State that he is resigning from his position as head coach of the football program,” Dave Joyner, athletic director with Penn State University, said.

Joyner confirmed that O’Brien is leaving Penn State for the NFL, taking a position as the next head coach of the Houston Texans.

“We are happy for coach O’Brien and this tremendous opportunity for him. At the same time, we’re very grateful for the last two years here at Penn State and Bill laying a foundation upon a great foundation that already existed here,” Joyner said.

With the departure of O’Brien, Penn State has begun the search for its 16th head coach in the school’s history, and because of the University’s history and recent success, Joyner says the search is already going well.

“We have a tremendous amount of interest in this head coaching position. We have such a great tradition here at Penn State and there are some tremendous coaches that have reached out to us,” Joyner said.

For the time being, defensive line coach Larry Johnson will serve as interim head coach, but Penn State expects to pick the new head coach sooner rather than later.

“We expect this search to be very timely and our anticipation is that we will be counting this in a matter of days rather than weeks,” Joyner said.

Joyner says that regardless of what happened two years ago with the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, the job is much more attractive at this thanks to getting scholarships back, bowl game eligibility, and the continued support of the Nittany Lion faithful.

“As a head coach, I would be extremely excited about coming into a place like this at this time,” Joyner said.

A six-member committee is looking for a coach who has integrity, knows the importance of academics, and most importantly, has the ability to win championships.

“Our job is going to be to select the next great head football coach at Penn State and to get the best football coach available for Penn State University,” Joyner said.
PSU looking to hire new coach in wake of O'Brien's departure

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