The Penn State Nittany Lions announced their new head football coach Bill O'Brien in a late Saturday morning press conference, and O'Brien made it very clear he was the new leader of the Nittany Lions football family and he very much wanted to be at the University.
President Rodney Erickson began the proceedings, noting the proud legacy of the Nittany Lions football program and the need for a special leader. He spoke highly of O'Brien, saying the new head coach's selection was the culmination of a careful and deliberate search that led to the hiring of a man who could continue the legacy of Penn State football while forging a new future.
Acting Athletic Director Dave Joyner, a subject of much criticism during this hiring process, spoke next, immediately thanking the selection committee for their work in choosing O'Brien to replace Joe Paterno. Joyner said O'Brien could lead the program with integrity, and mold young men both academically and athletically. Joyner noted O'Brien's coaching expertise and passion in discussing his new hire.
The final man to speak at the press conference was O'Brien himself. He began by noting how unbelievable this whole thing was, and what a special program Penn State is, a theme he hammered home in various ways throughout the rest of his talk. He said on numerous occasions how thrilled he is to be the coach at a school with such a football legacy, and how he has met with and will continue to meet with anyone associated with the program. O'Brien made sure to recognize and thank Joe Paterno, saying there are not enough words to describe all JoePa did for the program.
O'Brien was no-nonsense throughout his time on the podium, reiterating that he believes in himself, Penn State, and the University's football traditions and success. As he said at one point, "What's not to love about Pen State?" Noting the controversy leading up to his hiring, O'Brien said he understands the controversy and will do everything he can to bring all sides together. O'Brien finished his prepared remarks by reading a letter he and his staff wrote, saying "You are why we want to be here" and ending the letter with "We are Penn State".
Following O'Brien's remarks, the media asked some questions. Notable among the answers:
- O'Brien met with Larry Johnson Sr. and he will remain on the staff.
- AD Joyner said he has been in contact with almost anyone who wanted to talk to him through the entire hiring process, including the letterman.
- O'Brien will remain with the Patriots throughout their playoff run, but any downtime will be spent on the Penn Sate program.
- O'Brien has yet to meet with the team but will do so on Sunday at 5:00 PM.
Stay tuned to this StoryStream for even more on the Bill O'Brien press conference and hiring. For more on the Nittany Lions, visit Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries. For more college football news, check out SB Nation's college football news hub.