The Penn State coaching search has been long and awkward, as it seemed like no one really wanted the position in wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. But the Nittany Lions have reportedly found their man in New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, but he's been met with a lot of resistance by Penn State fans and alumni. It has caused a lot of people to say, "Who the hell is Bill O'Brien?"
O'Brien actually has a very extensive college coaching resume, just not as a head coach. He began his college coaching career in 1993 as the tight ends coach at his alma mater Brown University, where he played defensive end. He moved from tight ends coach to coach inside linebackers in 1994. After the 1994 season with Brown, O'Brien took an offensive graduate assistant position at Georgia Tech. O'Brien stayed on the Georgia Tech coaching staff for eight years.
In 1998, O'Brien was promoted to running backs coach and held that position until after the 2000 season when he was then promoted to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under then head coach George O'Leary. O'Brien left Georgia Tech after the 2002 season when Chan Gailey took over as head coach, getting a position at Maryland as the running backs coach for the 2003-2004 seasons. O'Brien moved to be the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Duke, where he spent the 2005 and 2006 seasons. In that span while O'Brien was the offensive coordinator, Duke was in the midst of a 22-game losing streak. In those seasons, Duke averaged 16.1 and 14.9 points per game, respectively.
After O'Brien's stint with Duke, he was hired as an offensive assistant with the New England Patriots, but did not hold a specific position. O'Brien was assigned to coach the wide receivers in 2008 and then the quarterbacks from 2009-2010. O'Brien was given play calling duties when Josh McDaniels left to coach the Denver Broncos after the 2008 season, but O'Brien was not officially promoted to offensive coordinator until the 2011 season. Under O'Brien as a play caller, the Patriots had one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL and also saw quarterback Tom Brady throw for over 5,000 yards on the season for the first time of his career.
There are concerns with the fact that O'Brien has no head coaching experience whatsoever, but he has spent 15 years of his coaching career in the NCAA so he does have some credibility at the amateur level.
For more on Bill O'Brien and Penn State football, visit SB Nation's Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries.