Penn State is giving coach Bill O’Brien a raise. Call it a thanks, and a job well done after the Nittany Lions’ impressive first season under the coach.
That thanks -in dollar amount- is a $1 million raise for the second-year coach, who led the program to an 8-4 record despite limitations of sanctions handed down by the NCAA on the program last July, just after he took the job in the winter.
O’Brien was able to overcome the transfers of several key members of the team before the season including star tailback Silas Redd to setup a promising future in Happy Valley.
Even though the sanctions limit the amount of scholarships that O’Brien has to play with for the next three season, he’s still been able to land top incoming recruits. His 2013 class has been lauded for including the nations top quarterback recruit in Christian Hackenberg, who arrives on campus this summer, as well as several other recruits who stuck with the school after the NCAA’s proverbial hammer came down. Since polishing off a bright 2013 class, O’Brien has gone full speed ahead on 2014, landing yet another top quarterback recruit in Michael O’Connor and athlete De’Andre Thompkins, both of whom are in the ESPN150.
O’Brien bright offensive mind helped bring Penn State’s offense back from the dark ages to become one of the nations top passing attacks, and helped transform quarterback Matt McGloin into the Big Ten’s best passer. The Nittany Lions averaged 29.1 points per game in 2012, which was good for 63rd in the country, a massive improvement on the 19.3 they scored just a year earlier with much of the same roster.
Penn State hired O’Brien in January 2012 and gave the first-time college head coach a $950,000 base salary to take over the suddenly troubled program. His new deal is set to pay him $1.9 million starting July 1 according to a recent school release. O’Brien is signed until 2016, and he’ll get an average of $3.2 million per year in base salary from 2013 until then.
According to the contract, O’Brien would pay less of a buyout (only the base salary times years remaining on deal, but not including media and sponsorship dollars) if he were to re-sign to take an NFL head-coaching job than if he were to leave for other circumstances.
After resisting overtures from the NFL following the season, O’Brien’s new deal states that the coach would only pay the base salary times the number of years left on the contract in total for a buyout in case he were to resign and leave for the NFL. While that is (hopefully) far off in the distance, it’s still important to note that O’Brien -and the league- will undoubtedly have mutual interest at some point.
But at any rate, Bill O’Brien will be the coach at Penn State, and he’ll be getting a nice raise for a job well done so far. It’s a good move by both parties at this point in time.
Up next for O’Brien and Penn State: season opener at MetLife Stadium against Syracuse on August 31.