Bill O'Brien: 'That's the last thing I'm about'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday January 07, 2013

Posted by: Chris Vannini on January 7, 2013

Bill O'Brien wanted to clear the air.

He turned down the NFL to stay with Penn State, but also wanted to address rumors surrounding him at a press conference Monday - one year to the day since he was first hired by the school.

He described his talks with NFL teams only reaching as far as "conversations." As for a report that a PSU donor stepped up to keep O'Brien with a raise, the coach strongly denied that claim and said you could call his former coaching bosses and ask them a question.

"If you do get them on the phone, you can ask them, 'Did Bill, in his years working for you, has he ever asked you for a raise? They will unequivocally tell you no," O'Brien said. "I have never asked (Penn State officials) for a raise. No one at Penn State has ever come to me and said to me that 'We going to make a donation so you can get a raise.' That's a bunch of malarkey.

"It's not true, it's never happened and it never will happen. That's the last thing that I'm about. If I was about money, more than likely, I probably wouldn't be sitting here right now. It's not about money."

Having come to Penn State from the NFL, it made sense for O'Brien to look at the opportunities, which came up because of his staff and players, he said.

O'Brien knows his coaching career will end at some point. He made a point to say he won't be coaching into old age - which his predecessor Joe Paterno did - but he has to put his family first.

"My profession is coaching. In my profession, the National Football League is the highest level of coaching," he said. "You don't get any higher in coaching than the National Football League. ... I'm 43 years old and I've been doing this for 22 years. I'm basically, in my opinion, halfway through my career.

"I won't be coaching for 47 more years. I will not be coaching when I'm 80 years old. I think I can coach 20-25 more years because that's where I see my career going."

Asked to clarify if he didn't receive a raise, compared to asking for one, O'Brien responded with an emphatic no, he had not.

As for the future, O'Brien was asked if he would listen to an NFL team next year. He didn't want to get into hypotheticals, but did leave the door open.

"That's next year," he said. "I'm telling you right now, I'm committed to this 2013 team and I'm looking forward to coaching them. That's a very speculative question. I'm looking forward to going down to the AFCA convention today. I plan to be at Penn State and to be the football coach here and I'm looking forward to coaching these kids."



Chris Vannini is the lead writer for and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to

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