Penn State introduced its new head football coach yesterday, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, who told reporters that he’s “thrilled” to be a part of the storied program and stressed in his opening comments that his tenure will stress character.
“As the head football coach of this special football program, it is my responsibility to ensure that this football program represents the highest level of character, respect and integrity in everything we do. That includes my coaching staff, our players, everyone involved in the football program. We will take very seriously our duty to interact in an exemplary fashion with our great alumni, our students, our faculty, our fans, our media and members of the community. There is so much pride in Penn State, and we will never, ever take that for granted, ever. "
O’Brien also addressed Joe Paterno in his opening comments and acknowledged the contributions of the legendary coach.
“Before I go any further, I have to say my feelings about Coach (Joe) Paterno. As a young football coach‑‑ well, I look like I’m 50, but I’m only 42…follicularly challenged. But I grew up following the Penn State football program. I was the type of person that always loved to watch them because of the helmets, the uniforms, the black cleats, no names on the back of the jerseys, and also because of the man on the sidelines, Coach Paterno.
There will never be enough words to say what he did for this program as far as wins, as far as off the field graduating kids, graduating student-athletes every single year. I can’t wait to meet him, and I look forward to that as soon as I can get that done. "
O’Brien wouldn’t give details on his prospective staff, but did say that it would come together quickly and when they did they would have one major job. Recruiting.
“As far as recruiting, when I get the staff in place, which, like I said, will be fairly quickly, I’ve told them there’s some things that we’ve got to get done. We’ve got to make sure that we secure the guys that are committed right now. You know that I can’t mention any names right now as far as the NCAA rules go, but make sure that we secure those guys. I think the other thing we have to do is we’ve got to get out in the mid‑Atlantic states, our bloodlines, Pennsylvania, Maryland, (Washington) D.C., Ohio. We’ve got to get out there and we’ve got to make sure that our coaches are out there in those high schools getting to know those coaches and talking to them about the direction of the Penn State football program right now.
And then after that if there’s anybody else out there that we feel like we can get in on based on connection, or maybe it’s somebody that de-committed or wants to get back, is interested in getting back because they’re happy to have Bill O’Brien as the head coach, then we’ll certainly go after them, that’s for sure. We’ll have a very good plan in place for recruiting going forward. "
Finally, O’Brien read a prepared statement from himself and his staff directed to the Penn State community.
“We respect the right to one’s opinions, beliefs and contributions to Penn State. We admire one’s loyalties to Penn State, Penn State football, its grand tradition, Coach Paterno and all of his football staffs and present and former players.
We respectfully request the opportunity to earn your trust through communication and feel that through our abilities, ethics, beliefs, work ethic and commitment to Penn State, in time we will find that we have more common interests and goals than not. We are here now with you. You should be proud of Penn State’s numerous accomplishments. You should be proud of Penn State’s football program. You should love this school. You are why we want to be here.
We want you to know that you will always be welcome and a part of our program because we are Penn State."