Report: Bill O’Brien Grew Frustrated With Politics of Penn State Coaching Job, Lasting Influence of Joe Paterno Era


Bill O'BrienIt shouldn’t come as a surprise that former Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien had become frustrated at his job. O’Brien, who was hired Tuesday by the Houston Texans as their new head coach, signed on to coach Penn State in 2012 after the football team was rocked by a child sex abuse scandal.

On top of dealing with NCAA sanctions resulting from the scandal, O’Brien walked onto a scene that had been dominated by storied former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. O’Brien apparently grew tired of navigating the world of “Paterno people” and college football politics by the time the Texans came calling. He said in early December that the Nittany Lions would probably be “looking for a new coach” in about a month, according to David Jones of

“You can print this: You can print that I don’t really give a [expletive] what the ‘Paterno people’ think about what I do with this program,” O’Brien said. “I’ve done everything I can to show respect to coach Paterno. Everything in my power. So I could really care less about what the Paterno faction of people, or whatever you call them, think about what I do with the program. I’m tired of it.

“For any ‘Paterno person’ to have any objection to what I’m doing, it makes me wanna put my fist through this windshield right now.”

O’Brien did what he could with what he had in Happy Valley. In two seasons at Penn State, O’Brien led the Nittany Lions to a 15-9 record, and he was named Big Ten Coach of the Year and was awarded the Paul “Bear” Bryant College Coach of the Year award in 2012. But the situation seems to have gotten the best of him.

“I’m trying to field the most competitive football team I can with near-death penalty [expletive] sanctions,” he said. “Every time I say something like that and somebody prints it, it’s skewed as an excuse. And I’m not an excuse-maker. I’m trying to do the best I can for the kids in that program. That’s all I care about is the kids in that program.”

In Houston, O’Brien takes over a Texans team that finished the 2013 season with a 2-14 record and holds the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.

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