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Penn State confirms O'Brien leaving for Texas - abc27 WHTM

Penn State confirms O'Brien leaving for Texas

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WHTM) -

Penn State University has confirmed that football coach Bill O'Brien is resigning from his position to become the head coach of the National Football League's Houston Texans.

Dave Joyner, Penn State's director of athletics, said Thursday that a national search will begin immediately to select a new Nittany Lions coach.

Joyner said long-time defensive line coach Larry Johnson will serve as interim head coach while the search is underway.

Joyner, who will chair a search committee, said he intends to move quickly and expects to make significant progress in a matter of days, rather than weeks.

He said several coaches have already expressed interest in taking in the job.

While he mentioned no possible candidates, Joyner discussed what the search committee will be looking for in the next coach.

"First and foremost is integrity. Second is the ability to continue upon our great tradition of academics and the integration of our student-athletes within the university," Joyner said, "but nonetheless, tremendously important, somebody that has the ability to win championships, Big 10 championships and national championships."

O'Brien came to Penn State after five years on the New England Patriots' coaching staff and led Penn State - in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal - to marks of 8-4 and 7-5 during his two years as the Nittany Lions' head coach.

During his first season, O'Brien was selected the Bear Bryant, Maxwell Football Club and ESPN National Coach of the Year and the Big Ten-Dave McClain Coach of the Year and Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year.

In a joint statement, Joyner and university president Rodney Erickson extended best wishes to O'Brien and his family.

"Coach O'Brien was a tremendous leader during a challenging time at our university, guiding our student-athletes to success both on the field and in the classroom," the statement read. "We will always be grateful to him for his time here at Penn State."

 

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