Houston, TX, United States (4E Sports) – Penn State’s Bill O’Brien has agreed to coach the Houston Texans, whose owner Bob McNair wanted somebody who had NFL and head-coaching experience.
The Texans, who went 2-14 this season after winning back-to-back AFC South titles the previous two years, fired coach Gary Kubiak on Dec. 6.
O’Brien, 44, was a protégé of Bill Belichick and a New England Patriots assistant from 2007 to 2011. He eventually became the offensive coordinator for a Patriots team that lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.
He left the Patriots two years ago to replace Joe Paterno at Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.
Penn State went 15-9 under O’Brien, including 10-6 in the Big Ten. O’Brien was named Big Ten coach of the year in 2012 after leading Penn State to an 8-4 record in his first year on the job.
But O’Brien grew frustrated with the politics of being a coach at Penn State and told David Jones of PennLive.com Dec. 4 that he intended to resign.
“You can print this: You can print that I don’t really give a —- what the ‘Paterno people’ think about what I do with this program,” he said. “I’ve done everything I can to show respect to Coach Paterno. Everything in my power. So I could really care less about what the Paterno faction of people, or whatever you call them, think about what I do with the program. I’m tired of it.
He was also aware of the interest from the Texans before Kubiak was fired.
As a condition to returning to Penn State in 2013, O’Brien and the school had agreed to an amended contract that lowered his buyout to join an NFL team from $19.33 million to $6.48 million. There had been conversations to further reduce the NFL buyout.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips took over as interim coach and he was one of three candidates the Texans interviewed for the position, along with O’Brien and former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith.