Penn State Football: Bill O'Brien Named Head Coach, Assistant Coaches Mum on Future
A bizarre scene unfolded Friday outside the Lasch football building: Penn State football interns moving coaches' vehicles out of the parking lot so the coaches could leave the building and avoid reporters.
Those are the actions Penn State is taking, along with waiting 24 hours to confirm the obvious: Bill O'Brien is the 15th head football coach in 125 years of Penn State football.
Terms of the deal are unknown.
O'Brien arrived in State College on Friday and was taken to the Bryce Jordan Center in a white SUV. A press conference introducing O'Brien is expected to come Saturday.
Members of the current Nittany Lions coaching staff met with acting athletic director Dave Joyner for about an hour at the football complex amid numerous reports O'Brien will be named the university's next head coach. A source said Joyner informed the staff O'Brien is the new head coach and will play a key role in determining which current staff members will be retained.
ESPN's John Barr reported interim coach Tom Bradley said it's unlikely he would remain on staff under O'Brien, citing other offers. Bradley's attorney Rich Puleo said the interim coach had been fired by Penn State, according to ESPN. Bradley refuted the report.
"I am not fired by Penn State," Bradley said in the report. "I am still an employee of Penn State University, still a member of the staff — everybody is on the staff until (O'Brien) decides who he wants to keep on his staff."
Once the meeting ended, Joyner walked to his car while talking on the phone and said he will comment Saturday.
Only Jay Paterno shed any light on what was discussed at the meeting.
"We met. He kind of gave an update and that was it," Jay Paterno said outside Lasch, walking toward his car. He said he was still employed by the university. "He wants everybody to respect his privacy and they're gonna make an announcment when they make it."
Penn State gave no indication to any member of the staff before Joyner's meeting that would confirm nor deny O'Brien, the New England Patriots offensive coordinator, will coach the Nittany Lions. Arriving at Lasch at 1 p.m., Bradley said he just returned from recruiting and was told nothing.
Around 4 p.m., the same time Joyner met the coaching staff, a university airplane departed for Laurence G. Hanscom Field Airport in Bedford, Mass., and returned to University Park Airport around 6:45 p.m. with O'Brien and his family.
While the flight was en route, members of the staff started trickling out of the Lasch building. Tom Bradley, who served as interim coach when Joe Paterno was fired Nov. 9 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal, was not seen leaving Lasch. His car was twice moved from the parking lot by a football intern and was not seen again.
The rest of the staff did not offer insight into what was discussed at the meeting nor did they discuss their job statuses moving forward.
When asked what he planned to do Saturday, offensive line and tight ends coach Bill Kenney said, "what i always do on Saturday. Come to the office, look at some film and get started on the next day."
In a ballroom at the Nittany Lion Inn, a backdrop and rows of chairs are set up where the official announcement is expected to come. Sources said earlier Friday a press conference was scheduled for 11:30 a.m.
Around 9 p.m. Friday, Joe Paterno released a statement through his family to the Associated Press welcoming O'Brien. The statement follows:
“I understand Bill O’Brien has been named head coach and I want to congratulate him on his appointment. I don’t know Bill, but I respect his coaching record, and I am particularly pleased we share a connection to my alma mater, Brown.
“Despite recent commentary to the contrary, Penn State football has always been about more than winning. I am hopeful this tradition will continue.”
A photo gallery of O'Brien arriving in State College is available by clicking on the image above.