O'Brien to speak at Shenango Alumni Society fundraising dinner

January 29, 2013

Penn State football coach and Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Bill O'Brien will be this year's guest speaker at the Penn State Shenango Friends of Penn State 2013 Annual Dinner on Feb. 13. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. and dinner begins at 6:30 p.m., in the Penn State Shenango Auditorium located in downtown Sharon, Pa. Tickets are $50 per person (cash bar will be available). The event is sponsored by the Penn State Shenango Alumni Society. Proceeds will go to Penn State Shenango student scholarships and Special Olympics of Pennsylvania. Tickets are going fast, so please call 724-983-2907 or email sxh46@psu.edu.

To call O’Brien’s first year as a head coach “great” would be a vast understatement.

Named the Nittany Lions’ 15th head football coach on Jan. 6, 2012, O’Brien quickly and effectively established the foundation and shared his passionate vision for the new era of Penn State football during his initial eight months on the job.

After two narrow losses to open the season, the resilient Nittany Lions responded the following Monday with one of their best practices of the season to set the tone for the final 10 games. A 34-7 victory over Navy in Week 3 not only was O’Brien’s first career victory but served as a launching pad for the remainder of the season. Penn State won eight of its final 10 contests and earned a 6-2 mark in the Big Ten Conference, finishing second in the Leaders Division.

Penn State capped its remarkable season with a 24-21 overtime victory over eventual Big Ten Champion Wisconsin on an emotional Senior Day, with 31 committed and dedicated seniors introduced before the game. O’Brien’s eight wins were the most by a first-year Penn State coach in the 126 years of the program and led to a plethora of accolades for his leadership, coaching acumen and commitment under unprecedented conditions.

In his 20th year of coaching, but his first as a head coach, O’Brien was selected the 2012 Bear Bryant Coach of the Year, ESPN Coach of the Year and the Maxwell Football Club Collegiate Coach of the Year. He also was a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year and the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). O’Brien also was among the finalists for the 2012 Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year, a prestigious honor presented to a metropolitan Pittsburgh sports figure.

O’Brien also was named the Big Ten’s Dave McClain Coach of the Year (media) and Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year (coaches). The Brown University graduate was just the seventh first-year head coach to earn the Big Ten-Dave McClain Coach of the Year in the 41 years it has been awarded.

O’Brien’s teaching and tenacity helped Penn State earn two All-America honorees (Jordan Hill and Michael Mauti), two freshmen All-Americans (Deion Barnes and Kyle Carter), six first-team All-Big Ten selections and three individual conference award winners:
-- LB Michael Mauti -- Big Ten Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year
-- WR Allen Robinson – Big Ten Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year
-- DE Deion Barnes – Thompson-Randle El Big Ten Freshman of the Year

"Bill O'Brien has been an outstanding addition to Penn State athletics and to our University community," said President Rodney Erickson. "His leadership has been exceptional as he has rallied fans and players in their support of our team and delivered a winning season. Coach O'Brien's commitment to both athletics and academics continues Penn State's long-standing tradition of achievement both on the field and off, and his first year as head coach of the Nittany Lions has been one of tremendous success and positive impact on the entire University."

During the 2012 fall semester, O’Brien saw 47 squad members earn at least a 3.0 grade-point average, with a program record 20 Nittany Lions earning dean’s list recognition by posting a 3.5 GPA or higher during the semester. A program record 28 football student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2012 for owning at least a 3.0 grade point average and being a letter-winner. In addition, senior defensive end Pete Massaro and John Urschel earned first-team College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America honors, as Penn State and Notre Dame were the only FBS schools with multiple first-team honorees.

O’Brien’s personality, vision, passion, work-ethic, respect for the past, excitement for the future, and no-nonsense approach have resonated with and enthused every constituency he has met, from prospects and their families, to the football lettermen, Penn State alumni and fans, and communities across the commonwealth.

A Brown graduate, also the alma mater of his College Football Hall of Fame predecessor Joe Paterno, the engaging, detail-oriented and intense O’Brien spent 14 years coaching college football at Brown, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Duke before spending five highly-successful years on coach Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots’ staff.

A member of the Patriots’ coaching staff from 2007 until coming to Penn State, O’Brien served as the Patriots’ wide receivers coach in 2008 and was the quarterbacks coach in 2009-10 prior to his promotion to offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 2011.

Born in Dorchester, Mass., O’Brien was raised in Andover, a Boston suburb. He played linebacker and defensive end at Brown from 1990-92, graduating in 1992 with a double concentration in political science and organizational behavior management.

O’Brien and his wife, Colleen, have two sons: Jack (10) and Michael (7).



  • Coach Bill O'Brien will speak Feb. 13 at the Penn State Shenango Friends of Penn State dinner.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 06, 2013