O'Brien joins Penn State; Pats' OC will stay through playoffs

By Jason La Canfora NFL Network
NFL Network Insider
Published: Jan. 6, 2012 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated: Jan. 6, 2012 at 10:30 p.m.

New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien has been named the 15th head coach at Penn State after signing a deal, the school announced Friday night.

Terms of the deal were not available. O'Brien will remain with the Patriots throughout the playoffs, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

The Penn State job came open in November when longtime coach Joe Paterno was fired over the handling of child sex-abuse allegations against former assistant Jerry Sandusky.

"I understand Bill O'Brien has been named head coach, and I want to congratulate him on his appointment," Paterno said in a statement to the Associated Press provided by his family. "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," Paterno added, citing what he said was the program's commitment to education and community service. "I am hopeful this tradition will continue."

O'Brien, 42, had already canceled a Saturday interview with the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to a source. He began talks with Penn State on Thursday that continued into Friday.

The Patriots are making preparations to replace O'Brien, with Josh McDaniels in line to quickly take over offensive coordinator duties if need be.

McDaniels began his career as an assistant in New England in 2001. He was later elevated to offensive coordinator in 2006, before leaving to take Denver's head-coaching job in 2009.