Penn State AD lauds football coach O'Brien, thinks he'll stick around
By Scott Brown
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner looked at the speculation that caused angst among fans as affirmation that the school had made the right choice when it hired Bill O'Brien as only its third head football coach since 1950.
And Joyner said he believes O'Brien is as committed to Penn State as he was before leading the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record and earning Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.
“He's here, and he's not going anywhere,” Joyner told the Tribune-Review on Wednesday. “He and I have a lot of respect for each other. Other coaches have great respect for him as he does for them, and I think it's a great environment. I'm gratified that he's here and I look forward to a very long association with him.”
O'Brien drew national acclaim for the job he did in holding the football program together after the NCAA levied severe sanctions against it in July — and for leading Penn State to eight wins in its final 10 games after an 0-2 start.
His success and NFL background also spawned talk that O'Brien will be a target of NFL teams looking to fill head-coaching vacancies after the 2012 season.
O'Brien has a contract that runs through 2020 and a buyout that would cost him about $9 million. But Joyner said he believes O'Brien's long-term future at Penn State is secure because the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator looks at his job as transcending football given all the program has had to overcome in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
O'Brien told an Atlanta radio station Tuesday that he plans to be at Penn State next season.
“When we were looking for the next coach, we wanted someone that wanted to be here for a long time,” Joyner said, “and we wanted somebody that wasn't looking at this as a steppingstone because this is a special place, and we wanted someone that embraced that, and Bill has embraced that from the first moment I talked to him. Every second since then it's done nothing but continue.”
O'Brien's job only gets tougher after a season in which Penn State won six of eight Big Ten games and capped it with a 24-21 overtime win over Wisconsin.
Because of the sanctions, Penn State is only allowed to offer 15 scholarships annually over the next four years. The Nittany Lions will be allowed to have 65 scholarship players — the maximum allowed by the NCAA is 85 — from 2014-17.
The diminished numbers will make it difficult for the Nittany Lions, and it will make it harder for them to recruit against schools that don't operate under the same restrictions.
“One big question with the depleted roster is, will they win?” Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said.
Penn State almost has filled out its 2013 class, and Farrell said he expects most of the players who have verbally committed to sign in February.
Tight end Adam Breneman, quarterback Christian Hackenberg, offensive lineman Brendan Mahon and defensive end Garrett Sickels are the anchors of the class. It bodes well for Penn State signing the four, Farrell said, because they have become friends and have pledged to stick together.
The difficulties Penn State faces in recruiting, Farrell said, have been minimized by O'Brien proving himself as a head coach and the momentum it generated by the 2012 season.
“I think it's going to be a couple of years before you have them in the top 25 recruiting, but this year could have been a disaster,” Farrell said. “If 0-2 had fallen to 2-10, I don't think we'd be talking about the same situation.”
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Analysis: Steelers could fill needs with free agents while not spending big bucks
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley; Taylor restructures contract
- Crosby lifts Penguins over Capitals in last game of road trip
- Sbarro again files for bankruptcy reorganization
- Missing hikers found in McConnells Mill State Park
- Stage volunteer dies following collapse at Pine-Richland High School
- Hempfield couple charged in thefts
- Ligonier man charged with harassing estranged wife
- No apology from Greensburg driver in DUI death
- Man charged with pointing gun at woman in Rostraver
- Jeannette examines hiring city manager