Penn State has chosen New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to succeed legendary coach Joe Paterno and former Nittany Lions players do not approve.
Former players are taking issue with the hiring because O’Brien, 42, has no ties to Penn State and they were excluded from the process. In addition, he is not a “name” hire; he is best known as the guy who made headlines and highlight reels for a shouting match with his quarterback, Tom Brady, during a game against the Washington Redskins.
O’Brien, according to ESPN, will be introduced Saturday as the coach tasked with restoring football glory as well as honor to the program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal that cost Paterno his job in his 46th season.
LaVar Arrington, a former Penn State player and Washington Post contributor, was livid over the fact that the hire came from outside the football family. Arrington had backed the permanent hiring of interim coach Tom Bradley.
“I will put my Butkus [Award] in storage. I will put my Alamo Bowl MVP trophy in storage,” Arrington said, via Rivals.com. “Jerseys, anything Penn State, in storage. Wherever Tom Bradley goes, that's the school I will start to put memorabilia up in my home. I'm done. I'm done with Penn State. If they're done with us, I'm done with them.”
Bradley, 55, is a Penn State graduate and a long-time assistant who succeeded Sandusky as defensive coordinator. He replaced Paterno on Nov. 9 and coached the team to a 1-3 finish.
“By these people making the decisions the way that they are making them, basically coinciding with everything that's being written about our university, if they get rid of Tom Bradley, that means they in essence have accepted the fact that we are all guilty,” Arrington said. “You might as well call it all the same thing. “
Brandon Short, an All-American linebacker who now is an investment banker, told ESPN that the Lettermen’s Club has a meeting with acting athletic director Dave Joyner at 1 p.m. EST today. He told USA Today that he and some members of the Lettermen’s Club are upset with Dave Joyner, interim athletic director and chairman of the search committee, over a hiring process that did not include their input.
“Penn State is a family and it is real and if they choose to get rid of Bradley and not hire a Penn State coach, then they've turned their backs on our entire family,” Short said.
Short told Rivals.com: “I don't want to be affiliated with the university if they don't choose a Penn State guy because of our standards, our graduation, all the things that have been important... it's no longer Penn State, so we might as well be in the SEC. They are intent on turning it into a booster culture. Ira Lubert went out and purchased a national title with wrestling and he's under the illusion that he can do that in football. Well, ask [Redskins owner] Dan Snyder about that.”
Short told ESPN that all options will be considered, including asking current players to transfer and recruits to de-commit. He told USA Today that former players were considering a lawsuit to stop the school from using their imagenesses and images for marketing.
Do the former players have a point? Is Bill O’Brien the right hire for Penn State? At least one former player — and current Redskins running back — is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
it could be a good fit... we could use some help on offense and he has clearly had some success... can he do it w/o tom tho?— Evan Royster (@Evan_Royster) January 6, 2012