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Former Terp Coach, Johnson Named Interim HC

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Published on: Wednesday, January 08, 2014

By Brandy Louis Simms, Sentinel Sports Reporter

Bill O’Brien was introduced last week as the new head coach of the Houston Texas.

The former Maryland assistant spent two seasons as the head coach at Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.

During a two-year stint in Happy Valley, O’Brien managed to win 15 games. He guided the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record in 2012 and compiled a 7-5 mark during the 2013 campaign. He also helped develop three first-team All-Big Ten honorees in defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, wide receiver Allen Robinson and guard John Urschel.

Robinson was named a first-team All-American and quarterback Christian Hackenberg was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, giving Penn State the conference’s last two freshman honorees.

During the 2012 season, O’Brien was selected the Bear Bryant, Maxwell Football Club and ESPN National Coach of the Year and the Big Ten-Dave McClain Coach of the Year and Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year.

In fact, O’Brien’s eight wins were the most by a first-year Penn State coach in the history of the program, which began in 1887.

A national search to find O’Brien’s replacement is underway and longtime defensive line coach Larry Johnson will serve as interim head coach in the meantime.

“We need to do everything we can do to support the needs of our student-athletes during this period,” said Penn State Director of Athletics Dave Joyner. “I am very confident in Larry Johnson, the coaches and staff in maintaining continuity and working with the returning players and recruits.”

Wise senior defensive back Marcus Allen and DeMatha senior running back Mark Allen remain committed to Penn State according to sources.

“We intend to move quickly in our search to identify the next great Penn State football coach,” added Joyner.

Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, a former Maryland assistant, is believed to be among the candidates that Penn State has targeted for the opening.






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