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Update: Paterno congrats precedes O’Brien’s official hiring

Joe Paterno and his wife Sue greet supporters outside their home in State College in still image taken from video Reuters

UPDATED 10:01 p.m. ET: Exactly 58 days after the firing of Joe Paterno, Penn State has officially hired a permanent replacement.

And, oddly enough, the official declaration came via a posting on a social network.

In a posting to his Twitter account, PSU’s Assistant Athletic Director/Communications Jeff Nelson wrote the following: “#PennState Names Bill O’Brien 15th Head Football Coach in Storied 125-Year History of Program”.  And, with that, a nearly two-month-long search had come to an end.

“I am thrilled to be the head coach of the Penn State football program,” stated O’Brien. “I cannot tell you how excited I am to get started, meet the team, meet the football alumni and meet all of the people that make this University so special. As head coach of this special football program, it is my responsibility to ensure that this program represents the highest level of character, respect and integrity in everything we do. That includes my coaching staff, our players and everyone involved in the football program. There is tremendous pride in Penn State football and will never, ever take that for granted.”

Coincidence or not, the announcement came less than a half an hour after Paterno released a statement congratulating O’Brien on his new job.

O’Brien will be officially introduced at an 11:30 a.m. ET press conference Saturday.

“We have found the man to take Penn State football forward,” said Dave Joyner, Penn State acting director of athletics. “Needless to say, we have been looking for someone with some very special qualities, beginning with a heart that beats to the values and vision of Penn State University and our Penn State football legacy and tradition. That was our starting point, and Coach O’Brien exemplifies those traits that Penn Staters hold so highly. In addition to his model characteristics as a man and a teacher, he’s all about producing winners, and doing so the right way. He will embrace tradition, demand excellence and pursue Success with Honor in every phase of our program.”


If myriad reports are accurate, Bill O’Brien will become the first head coach not named Joe Paterno to lead the Penn State football program since the 1965 season.

While the school has yet to officially announce the hiring, Coach Paterno’s not so patient; rather, he’s in a congratulatory mood.

In a statement sent to the Associated Press through his family, Paterno congratulated O’Brien on the new job, adding that he hopes the current offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots continues the program’s commitment to education.  Suffice to say, there was no specific mention of the scandal that cost the legendary coach his job nearly two months ago to the day.

“I understand Bill O’Brien has been named head coach and I want to congratulate him on his appointment,” Paterno said in a statement to the AP provided by his family. “I don’t know Bill, but I respect his coaching record, and I am particularly pleased we share a connection to my alma mater, Brown.”

“Despite recent commentary to the contrary, Penn State football has always been about more than winning,” Paterno added, citing what he said was the program’s commitment to education and community service. “I am hopeful this tradition will continue.”

Despite their age difference — Paterno was completing his fourth season as head coach when O’Brien was born on Oct. 23, 1969 — and as noted in the statement, the two do have one thing in common: both coaches are graduates of an Ivy League institution, Brown University.

Penn State is expected to make O’Brien’s hiring official sooner rather than later, with a press conference taking place as early as Saturday.

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29 Responses to “Update: Paterno congrats precedes O’Brien’s official hiring”
  1. attyken says: Jan 6, 2012 9:26 PM

    JoePA is always about class. I wish more people would realize it.

  2. brewcrewfan54 says: Jan 6, 2012 9:35 PM

    You think people didn’t think Paterno had class? You’re nuts. You’re also nuts if you didn’t reevaluate your opinion of him after recent findings.

  3. murkeljurkel says: Jan 6, 2012 9:36 PM

    This statement shows what Joe is all about.

    I think that one of the saddest things about our society is that people refuse to see multiple perspectives on issues and view issues with nuance. Joe Paterno is a great man who did so many good things throughout his life. He has one major regret – he reported an alleged attack to his superiors and then felt that they would do their job. He regrets not doing more, with what he knows now about Jerry Sandusky.

    Somehow, this has turned him into an enabler of child-molesters and a monster. It’s so disappointing that this is what our current culture has created – leaps to judgment and a rush to see who can be the most offended and outraged. Joe Paterno remains a great man, and it’s sad that this scandal will forever tarnish him and make him an “enabler” in many people’s eyes. He made a mistake by trusting that others would do the right thing, and not having McQueary call the police right away. I don’t think that makes him a monster, I think it makes him a human – and we are all capable of making mistakes.

  4. packerpride03 says: Jan 6, 2012 9:37 PM

    Throw joe pa in jail

  5. dirtyharry1971 says: Jan 6, 2012 9:51 PM

    got all these pro jopa supporters make me want to puke, they really do. Bottom line he isnt a good guy for what he allowed to happened and lets face it jerry was on his staff for what? 35 years? Had that charity since what? 1977? Im willing to bet my life that he knew way way before what McQueary told him when you consider all the time all these coaches spend together during the year. anyone who doesnt think so is fooling themselves or just dont want to believe reality

  6. aaronmoreno says: Jan 6, 2012 9:52 PM

    Class? Who thinks Paterno actually wrote this?

  7. cubano76 says: Jan 6, 2012 9:58 PM

    There is a big difference between JoePa and Joe Paterno. One is a legend, the other is a man like everyone else.

  8. thefiesty1 says: Jan 6, 2012 10:09 PM

    He respects his coaching record? What? This proves that JoePa should have retired years ago. Senile? Yes. O’Brain doesn’t have a coaching record. He’s 0 and 0.

  9. brewcrewfan54 says: Jan 6, 2012 10:42 PM

    Wow. It appears by all the thumbs down to the statements against Joe Paterno a lot of people consider him an innocent victim in all of this. Something I can assure you isn’t true.

  10. j0esixpack says: Jan 6, 2012 10:43 PM

    Geeze – Brown University thanks you for the plug Joe… thanks… that endorsement really helps right now.

    I’m sure they really appreciate that shout out to remind everyone

  11. mgscott says: Jan 6, 2012 10:51 PM

    Tomorrow Joe Pa will forget he even said it.

  12. Deb says: Jan 6, 2012 11:07 PM

    Football coaches are men who run football programs, not saints. I always liked Paterno, but the facts that have emerged about this situation show that he and the other officials at Penn State brushed aside information about a child rapist rather than take decisive action. It appears they found the matter embarrassing, distasteful, inconvenient, potentially damaging to the school and football program, and they thought only about how to make it go away–not about how to protect those children and lock up a monster.

    You can make all the excuses you want about Paterno reporting it to his superiors. But no one in that program was superior to Paterno. And if that had been your child, I doubt you’d have thought his response was good enough.

    Who cares whether he wrote his statement congratulating O’Brien or someone wrote it for him? The fact that it was released before the hire was confirmed means Paterno still has power at Penn State. They haven’t cleaned house. They’ve just swept their problems under a rug.

  13. deadeye says: Jan 6, 2012 11:17 PM

    “JoePA is always about class. I wish more people would realize it.”


    Only the most ardent of JoePa worshippers actually believe that releasing a prepared statement congratulating his successor somehow glosses over years of enabling a child-rapist.

  14. dmcgrann says: Jan 6, 2012 11:22 PM

    OK, I see it now. The main qualification for being head coach at Penn State is a degree from Brown. If that’s they way they want to do it, well, all righty then!

  15. packerpride03 says: Jan 6, 2012 11:39 PM

    The same people who support this clown are on the same level as the parents who let there kids go to Michael Jackson’s house

  16. fatfreddystubbs says: Jan 6, 2012 11:48 PM

    Who cares whether he wrote his statement congratulating O’Brien or someone wrote it for him? The fact that it was released before the hire was confirmed means Paterno still has power at Penn State
    Or it could mean that, like the rest of the country, he has the unique ability to sit down on his couch, pick up the remote, turn on his TV, and find out what everyone else has known since last night around 10 eastern time.

  17. cfbfaninbadnfltown says: Jan 7, 2012 12:58 AM

    2 Months and this is what they came up with, I know this is PA, but come on what kind of no show job did the search team really have to do? What was Rich Kotite not available? Three yrs from now unless PSU is holding a Rose Bowl trophy I don’t see this guy still running the program.

  18. randygnyc says: Jan 7, 2012 2:11 AM

    Why do you think the powers that be at PS expect to win anything over the next few years? Their current recruits are decommiting. They’ll now be fighting with urban Meyer over future talent. PS spoke to many high profile candidates and these coaches turned down the job. No one wants to take over for the legendary Joe Pa under these circumstances. Especially with more sh!t expecting to hit the fan over the next year or two. PS’s prospects for success in the next few years are bleak at best. This won’t change for them until the criminal cases are resolved and the civil cases (perhaps $500 Million worth) are settled. Then a new coach (no one wants to be the first in after a legend gets fired over child rape scandals, but rather, second in is ok) can be hired and start recruiting. Could be 5-6-7 years before PS plays .500 ball.

  19. 1historian says: Jan 7, 2012 8:00 AM

    Paterno knew that he had a child-molester on his staff and he did nothing more than pass the information up the chain of command.


    He should have quit years ago. The fact that he became the all-time winning coach this past season becomes – instead of something to be proud of – a sad irony.

    He should have quit years ago.

  20. rtw1 says: Jan 7, 2012 8:07 AM

    I think the students and football should start another riot denouncing the hire of O’Brian.

  21. revspinnaker says: Jan 7, 2012 8:53 AM

    “Despite recent commentary to the contrary, Penn State football has always been about more than winning,” Paterno added, [it’s about money.]

  22. buckimion says: Jan 7, 2012 9:41 AM

    Do the words “Spoiler alert” mean anything Joepa?

  23. twoody50 says: Jan 7, 2012 9:43 AM

    Joe Paterno was the FOOTBALL coach. All you people that sit and bash him and say you would have done this you would have done that, all speak in hindsight, which all humans do very well. Fact is, no one knows what they would have done, put in the same situation. There are many people higher up than Joe, and many people closer to the victims, that DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING years ago. Higher authorities did nothing, the education system in Pa where the victims went to school did nothing, a DA who is now presumed dead did nothing. The people that hated PSU before will continue to do so now. You have an excuse now.

  24. waynefontes says: Jan 7, 2012 9:48 AM

    attyken says:
    Jan 6, 2012 9:26 PM
    JoePA is always about class. I wish more people would realize it.


    JoePA helped enable a child molestor by looking the other way.

    I would say I wish more would people would realize it, but those of us with brains actually do.

    Keep fighting, knuckle draggers! Interesting to see all the thumbs down on anything even slightly anti-Paterno.

    People like you are proof that football is more important than anything (even a child’s welfare) in some eyes.

    Too bad that your program is headed for even further mediocrity, your saint is tarnished forever (and rightfully so) and you’re an embarassment to society.

    Good job!

  25. critterkiller33 says: Jan 7, 2012 10:01 AM

    O’Brien will do fine… The PSU program is way too strong to crumble… 110,000 + fans in the stadium every home game, state-of- the- art facilities…. They will take a 2 or 3 year hit in recruiting and that’s it… Also any id10t that thinks they will not play .500 ball for 5 or 7 years doesn’t have a clue… They will be well above .500 next year and for many years down the road…………….

  26. florida727 says: Jan 7, 2012 10:05 AM

    Dave Joyner, Penn State acting director of athletics, “Needless to say, we have been looking for someone with some very special qualities…”

    TRANSLATION: someone willing to say YES when offered the job

  27. deadeye says: Jan 7, 2012 11:29 AM

    “There are many people higher up than Joe, and many people closer to the victims, that DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING years ago. Higher authorities did nothing, the education system in Pa where the victims went to school did nothing,”


    We know that virtually every person involved with this scandal did nothing. Two of JoePa’s (so-called) superiors have been indicted for the part in covering this up. So what’s your point? Let me spell out two simple differences between JoePa and all those other people who knew and did nothing.

    First, JoePa will not be indicted, and in fact is being protected at all costs. He will never again, for the rest of his life, be permitted to speak directly to the media in any situation where he could face tough questions about his role in the coverup. For as long as JoePa lives he will release prepared statements like the one above, and questions will be fielded on his behalf by family members and lawyers. No reporter will ever be allowed to ask him difficult questions directly. This is sad because both his supporters and critics really want to hear his side of the story.

    Second, JoePa will always have a bunch of mind-numbed twits defending his honor, regardless of the evidence that he knew more about Sandusky’s crimes than he testified to. And thus the perfect circle of denial will continue to swirl. JoePa could not have been involved in the coverup because he is virtuous. And JoePa’s virtue remains in tact because he wasn’t involved with the coverup.

    Hear is the bitter truth. Paterno knew about everything going on within the PSU football program. Paterno wielded more power than any other person at PSU. Paterno was involved in every major decision that affected PSU football. And Paterno routinely interfered with other officials who attempted to do their jobs, if doing so was affecting PSU football players. Here’s an article that discusses some of these points:

  28. henryd3rd says: Jan 7, 2012 11:43 AM

    If you thinks the Joe Paterno’s reputation has taken hit wait until the trial begins and those victims begin to testify against Sandusky and the University.

    No matter what; it is no longer a plum job and years from now child molestation and Penn State will go hand in hand.

    I wonder how many candidates turned down the opportunity to take this job? O’Brien is a brave man because leaving a plum job with the Patriots and walking into “excuse the pun” that Lions’ den requires real courage

  29. kkastle says: Jan 9, 2012 6:01 PM

    Facts? What facts? All are allegations at this point. Why don’t you wait to condemn the man until what he is alleged to do or not do is proven in a court of law?

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