Joe Paterno lasted for decades as the Penn State football coach. His successor, Bill O’Brien, isn’t going to bolt after only one season.
O’Brien had plenty of opportunity. He interviewed for the vacant Cleveland Browns head-coaching job this week, and was, according to multiple reports, on the Philadelphia Eagles’ list to succeed Andy Reid. The Arizona Cardinals and San Diego Chargers also reportedly were interested. But O’Brien, who led the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record and was Big Ten coach of the year, put an end to NFL talk Thursay night.
“I’m not a one-and-done guy,” O’Brien, who was offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots before taking the PSU job, told pennlive.com. “I made a commitment to these players at Penn State and that’s what I am going to do. I’m not gonna cut and run after one year. That’s for sure.”
Pennlive’s David Jones writes that allowing his name to be mentioned for NFL jobs was more about strategy and leverage O’Brien and agent Joe Linta:
In addition to a clear testing of the pro head coaching waters, this was a strategic mission of sorts by O’Brien. By having Linta throw his name open to NFL openings and having the agent field offers, he was able to gain additional leverage that allowed him a chance to accomplish structural and personnel changes in the Penn State athletic department that may be forthcoming.O’Brien declined to be specific about those changes when asked but he did not deny those aims.
O’Brien acknowledged that PSU donor Terry Pegula, financier of the new Penn State hockey arena, has been a major ally in his efforts. Pegula was the first person who contacted O’Brien in late 2011 when he was eventually interviewed for the job.
Though O’Brien was not specific about it, high-level PSU sources have told me that a $1.3 million donation is to be added to O’Brien’s salary in the coming year that will bump his total compensation to $3.6 million and place him behind only Ohio State’s Urban Meyer ($4.3M) and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz ($3.8M) as the third-highest-paid coach in the Big Ten.