Stephan Savoia/AP/File
In this file photo, New England Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bill O'Brien talks with quarterback Tom Brady (12) during NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass.

Penn State attempts to move past scandal by hiring Patriots' Bill O'Brien, reports say

Penn State is reportedly in contract talks with New England's offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. But Penn State football alumni aren't too happy with the process to replace Joe Paterno

 Bill O'Brien, the relatively unknown offensive coordinator of the NFL's New England Patriots, has reported been tapped to replace the fired Joe Paterno as head football coach at Penn State University.

Paterno, who had spent nearly 50 years coaching at State College, was let go in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal last fall.

O'Brien, like Paterno, is a Brown University alumnus who coached at other Football Bowl Subdivision schools, such as Maryland, Georgia Tech, and Duke, before being hired as a coaching assistant by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in 2007.

Friday morning, multiple reports had O'Brien negotiating contract details with Penn State's acting athletic director David Joyner.

But the reported selection of O'Brien to take over the Penn State program was not sitting well with some former Nittany Lion players.

“I don’t want to be affiliated with the university if they don’t choose a Penn State guy because of our standards, our graduation, all the things that have been important… it’s no longer Penn State, so we might as well be in the SEC," Brandon Short, a Penn State alum and former New York Giants linebacker, said.

If O'Brien does take the Penn State job, he will be working for two employers, as the Patriots are in the NFL playoffs once again. The Patriots have a bye this weekend and await one of three possible teams(Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, or Cincinnati Bengals) in the AFC Divisional playoff a week from Saturday.

Also, now that the new year has begun, college recruiting reaches a fever pitch for all Division 1 schools, including Penn State. The most critical date is February 1st, when high school seniors can sign national letters of intent with the school of their choice.

There's speculation already about who might replace O'Brien as Patriots offensive coordinator. Josh McDaniels, the man who held the post before O'Brien and currently an assistant with the St. Louis Rams, could make a return to New England.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Penn State attempts to move past scandal by hiring Patriots' Bill O'Brien, reports say
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today