Bill O'Brien exemplifies leadership at its best on the Dan Patrick Radio Show
Posted by: Pete Roussel on July 24, 2012
Penn State is fortunate to have Bill O'Brien as the leader of its football program during this crisis.
During an interview on the Dan Patrick Radio Show on Tuesday morning, O'Brien spoke with conviction and exemplified leadership at its best.
On what he told his team after hearing the sanctions: "The first thing I told them was why I came to Penn State and why I brought this staff to Penn State. And there's so many things that go into that, but #1 was that I thought this was a place that could combine great academics with good, tough, hard-nosed football. And none of that has changed. I talked to them about the discussions I had with my family in coming to Penn State, and I talked with them about the fact that I could coach good, tough, hard-nosed kids that really cared about getting a great education. And none of that has changed."
"In our line of work, it's about the players. I couldn't be associated with a better group of players."
On his sales pitch to recruits moving forward: "Where do I begin? Number one I would tell you we offer a fantastic education. We offer over 150 different majors here at Penn State; we have so many to choose from. We've got 45,000 undergraduate students here. They sold out the 25,000 seat student section of our stadium very quickly. This is a place you can come and achieve all of your goals, meaning you can come here and receive a great education and you can play fantastic football."
"Let's think forward. This staff will develop you to be able to play at the next level. We know what it takes to play at the next level. This staff will make sure you understand the meaning and the value of this education here. This staff will show make you and show you if it's the Ohio State game, what these fans are all about, which is 108,000 people strong ready to come in here this season and support their team. At the end of the day, it's about being developed the best you can as a football player and being able to get a world renowned education."
On if all of his assistant coaches plan on sticking around: "There's no question about that. We're in it together. We've all been in tough situations before. There is no other group of men that I'd rather be in a foxhole with and that's what we're doing right now. We've got a great staff of teachers, of recruiters, of fathers, great husbands. We've got a great mix of experience on this staff, pro experience and college experience. I really enjoy coming to work with these guys."
On discussions with his wife throughout the process: "I think the first time we spoke about Penn State back when the job was offered to me, you know we're both educated people, Colleen and I, and we knew we had a very strong belief in the combination of academics and athletics because that's the way we were brought up in our respective families. We've been faced with challenges in our personal life up to this point and we knew that's really the most important thing. That anything that had to do with football and our football program and being a first time head coach was something we could definitely take on. No matter what the circumstances were that we were positive people and we felt good about the people that were in charge here at Penn State that hired me, and none of that's changed."
On USC pursuing current Penn State running back Silas Redd: "I'm not going to get into any conversations that I've had with individual players. I'm going to tell you that I've been very proud of these players over the last two or three days. I know that there's some tough time that they've had to deal with over the last six, seven, eight months. They're talking with their families right now, but what I've reiterated to these kids over and over again is why they're here. They're here to get a fantastic education. That hasn't changed. They're here to play really, really good tough football. That hasn't changed. We're on TV. We've got a chance to play six or seven bowl games per year in front of 108,000 people at home. I don't know how many bowl games have 108,000 people, but the last time I checked, there aren't any."
O'Brien admitted he's crushed that these kids can transfer without penalty.
On which people he has sought advice: "It's hard to seek advice from other coaches right now in college because a lot of those guys are obviously interested in our players. I always sought advice from my wife, my father, Bill Belichick and George O'Leary."
On the best wisdom he received through the 150 emails / texts from colleagues: "You can't dwell on the past, you've got to move forward."
My opinion: While there's no blueprint for how to handle a situation like this, especially as a first-year head coach, Bill O'Brien represented Penn State in terrific fashion today.
Recent articles on CoachingSearch.com
Pete Roussel is a valuable resource for coaches, athletic directors, NFL front-office personnel, and college football enthusiasts. A former college football coach, Roussel shares insight on coaches 365 days a year and is recognized as the most trusted expert on coaching transactions. Follow @CoachingSearch on twitter and send your feedback to email@example.com