University Park, PA, United States (4E Sports) – Penn State coach Bill O’Brien denied rumors that he will leave the Nittany Lions, stressing that he will return to the sidelines next season.
“I plan on being the head football coach at Penn State (in 2013),” O’Brien told radio program “The Zone” in Atlanta. “That’s my plan and that’s what I intend to do.”
O’Brien coached the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record this season despite receiving unprecedented sanctions from the NCAA in connection with the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.
Rumors about O’Brien’s departure began to circulate after he declined to commit if he would return. A former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, O’Brien also reportedly drew interest from an NFL team.
O’Brien’s original contract with Penn State was worth $12 million over five years but the deal was extended for another four years after Penn State was banned from postseason play for four years as a result of the NCAA sanctions.
O’Brien also lost 15 scholarship athletes per year for the next four years as penalty.
O’Brien’s agent, Joe Linta, also told ESPN.com that his client is committed to staying at Penn State.
“(O’Brien) is staying, and we’ve had no conversations with anyone else,” Linta said. “In fact, he’s leaving at 6 in the morning tomorrow to go out on the recruiting trail.”
The agent also described as “irrelevant” discussions on how much his client would pay to buy out the remaining eight years of his contract at Penn State.
Should O’Brien opts to leave Penn State, his contract calls for him to pay the school $9.2 million over four years or $18.4 million over eight years, depending on how many years he is obligated to compensate for.
During the same interview, O’Brien denied uttering a profanity in his on-the-field interview after Saturday’s victory over Wisconsin, claiming he called his team “fighters” and not a profane word some thought he said.
“You guys know me,” O’Brien told the radio audience. “You know I’m not a choir boy, but I said ‘fighters.’ “