Bill O'Brien will be the next head coach of the Houston Texans
The first major domino of the NFL hiring season has fallen, and it's one everyone saw coming. Bill O'Brien will leave Penn State to become the next head coach of the Houston Texans, according to Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN.
Texans are expected to introduce Bill O'Brien as their new head coach by Saturday, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 1, 2014
Houston will be Bill O'Brien's first head coaching job in the NFL. He earned the respect of the entire football community in leading Penn State to a 15-9 record over the past two seasons while managing a bowl ban, scholarship reductions and the half-century shadow of the previous regime. There won't be near that level of adversity in Houston.
Similar to Andy Reid in Kansas City, O'Brien steps into the best situation a coach inheriting a 2-14 team could ever imagine. The Texans retain most of the talent that brought the franchise back-to-back AFC South championships in 2011-12, along with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.
Prior to Penn State, O'Brien spent five years on Bill Belichick's staff with the New England Patriots as wide receivers coach and quarterbacks coach before becoming offensive coordinator in 2011. O'Brien helped the Patriots appear in two Super Bowls.
The entirety of O'Brien's career before New England was spent in college football. A Brown graduate, O'Brien coached tight ends and linebackers in 1993-94, and then spent eight seasons at Georgia Tech coaching running backs, quarterbacks and calling plays. From there, O'Brien coached running backs on Ralph Friedgen's staff at Maryland in 2003-04 (where, oddly enough, he worked with a wide receivers coach named James Franklin) and then served as offensive coordinator at Duke in 2005-06.
With O'Brien's departure, Penn State becomes just the fourth job opening on the college market and joins Texas as the only opening in a BCS conference.
O'Brien is the first NFL head coach hired this season. Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Washington remain open.
As always, we will update with more information as it becomes available.