Saturday, February 28, 2015

On radio, Bill O'Brien reaffirms commitment to Penn State

On Tuesday, his first post-season interview, the coach offered some clarity.

On radio, Bill O'Brien reaffirms commitment to Penn State

Bill O´Brien (right), Stephon Morris (left). (Gene J. Puskar/AP)
Bill O'Brien (right), Stephon Morris (left). (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

When asked about his future at Penn State, Bill O'Brien's answers this season have ranged from ambiguous to noncommittal to coy.

On Tuesday, his first post-season interview, the coach appeared much more assertive.

O'Brien's name has popped up as a candidate for NFL and college vacancies -- at least in the watercooler and message board circles. But when asked on Tuesday whether he would coach the Nittany Lions in 2013, O'Brien was concrete.

"Oh, I plan on being the head football coach at Penn State," O'Brien told 790-AM The Zone in Atlanta. "That's my plan, and that's what I intend to do."

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O’Brien is under contract until 2020. His current base salary is $950,000 a year, plus $1 million a year for public appearances and $350,000 from a deal with Nike. When O'Brien was hired in January, he signed to a five year deal. After the NCAA sanctions, O'Brien opted to extend his contract four more years -- the amount of years Penn State is banned from the postseason.

O’Brien created some anxiety among Penn State fans after the Lions 45-22 win against Indiana. When a reporter flat out asked the 43-year-old: “Are you going to be Penn State's coach next year?” he gave a long-winded answer which did not include the answer, “yes.” Instead, he said he was focusing on finishing the rest of the season.

The bowl-ineligible Lions finished 8-4, the most wins for a rookie head coach in Penn State history.

-Emily Kaplan 

About this blog
Joe Juliano has been a staff writer for The Inquirer for 20 years, covering college sports, golf and the Penn Relays.

Joining Joe this season will be John Stuetz, an intern for The Inquirer and senior at Penn State majoring in print journalism and marketing. This is John's third season covering the Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for the Daily Collegian, the university's student newspaper. A native of Glenside, Montgomery County, John graduated from Cheltenham High School.

For Joe, this will be his fifth season on the paper's Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for United Press International from 1976 to 1984.

Reach Joe at jjuliano@phillynews.com.

Joe Juliano Inquirer Staff Writer
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