Roughly 24 hours after the move was first reported by ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Penn State has officially announced the hiring of now-former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien as the 15th head football coach in the program's 125-year history.
The move was first announced on Sports Information Director Jeff Nelson's Twitter page at 9:45 PM Eastern.
"I am thrilled to be the head coach of the Penn State football program," O'Brien said in a press release issued shortly thereafter. "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."
O'Brien replaces Joe Paterno, Division-I college football's all-time winningest coach with 409 victories. Paterno was fired on Nov. 9 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Like Paterno, O'Brien is a graduate of Brown. The 42-year old Dorchester, Mass. native has made coaching stops at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Duke in addition to his time with the Patriots.
"The Penn State football program has a great legacy and has contributed enormously to our University community," Penn State president Rodney Erickson said in the press release. "A program of this caliber requires a special kind of leader - a leader who will embrace that legacy and maintain the University's commitment to excellence on the field and in the classroom. We have that leader in Coach O'Brien, and I look forward to working with him in his new role."
O'Brien will be introduced at an 11:30 a.m. press conference on Saturday in State College. O'Brien arrived via plane at University Park Airport just before 7:00 p.m. on Friday night. The press conference will air live on the Big Ten Network.
Until then, acting athletic director David Joyner leaves fans with these comments on the new hire.
"We have found the man to take Penn State football forward," Joyner, leader of the six-person search committee tasked with hiring the new coach said in the press release. "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."
For the latest on the Bill O'Brien hire, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh.