The Penn St. Nittany Lions have officially announced that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien will be the next head coach of their football program.
O'Brien will be the 15th head coach in school history and replaces Joe Paterno, who was fired as part of the fallout over a sexual abuse scandal centered around former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
"The Penn State football program has a great legacy and has contributed enormously to our University community," PSU president Rodney A. Erickson said. "A program of this caliber requires a special kind of leader - a leader who will embrace that legacy and maintain the University's commitment to excellence on the field and in the classroom. We have that leader in Coach O'Brien, and I look forward to working with him in his new role."
O'Brien has 14 years of college coaching experience, working at Georgia Tech from 1995-2002, serving as the school's offensive coordinator the final two seasons before coaching at Maryland (2003-04) and Duke (2005-06). O'Brien has been with the Patriots since 2007, coaching the quarterbacks from 2009 and adding offensive coordinator duties prior to the 2011 season.
O'Brien is expected to remain with the Patriots during the playoff run.
"I am thrilled to be the head coach of the Penn State football program," stated O'Brien. "I cannot tell you how excited I am to get started, meet the team, meet the football alumni and meet all of the people that make this University so special. As head coach of this special football program, it is my responsibility to ensure that this program represents the highest level of character, respect and integrity in everything we do. That includes my coaching staff, our players and everyone involved in the football program. There is tremendous pride in Penn State football and will never, ever take that for granted."
Related: Jerry Sandusky fallout, replacing Joe Paterno, and Penn State's movement to support sexual abuse survivors. For more on the Nittany Lions, visit Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries. More college football news.