O'Brien commits to coaching at Penn State

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Penn State and Bill O'Brien's agent confirmed Thursday night that the head coach will keep his position with the football team, nullifying the reports and rumors linking him to NFL jobs.

O'Brien spoke Thursday night to the Harrisburg Patriot News, saying: "I'm not a one-and-done guy. I made a commitment to these players at Penn State and that's what I am going to do. I'm not going to cut and run after one year. That's for sure."

O'Brien's agent, Joe Linta, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that O'Brien was "very excited for the upcoming season."

The Patriot News also reported that Penn State would increase O'Brien's yearly salary by $1.3 million through a donation by Buffalo Sabres owner and Penn State graduate Terry Pegula. O'Brien makes $2.3 million, according to his current contract. Penn State acting athletic director Dave Joyner did not respond to interview requests.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Cleveland Browns interviewed O'Brien earlier this week, and The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Eagles interviewed O'Brien while he was on vacation at Martha's Vineyard after he talked with the Browns.

O'Brien had been an assistant at New England from 2007-11. In his first season with Penn State, he led the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record and was the Big Ten coach of the year and won the Maxwell Club's national coach of the year award.

Linta said the "heartstrings" of O'Brien's experience from Penn State's season outweighed the potentially big raise he could have received in the NFL.

Throughout the season, players preached their devotion to O'Brien, saying his openness and honesty were the characteristics they valued most. O'Brien often reciprocated. "I can't tell you how much I enjoy these players," he said in October. "I've had the most fun coaching that I've had compared to any year."

Multiple Penn State players took to Twitter late Thursday night, commenting on the news. "Practice what you preach," wrote tight end Garry Gilliam. " ... love my coach."

A departure by O'Brien could have significantly damaged Penn State's football program, especially given the NCAA sanctions. Any player can transfer without penalty until practice begins this August, an opportunity that would have been much more tempting without O'Brien.

The NFL rumors had swirled around him since November. After the Indiana game, O'Brien refused to give a yes or no answer as to his future with Penn State in 2013, stoking the fire.

It's out now. And on Monday, a handful of the 18 committed recruits for 2013, who will enroll early, are scheduled to start their first semester at Penn State, including prized tight end Adam Breneman.

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The Associated Press contributed. Mark Dent: mdent@post-gazette.com, Twitter @mdent05.


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