Two people familiar with the negotiations said Tuesday night that Penn State’s Bill O’Brien has reached an agreement to coach the Houston Texans.
The people spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because an official announcement hasn’t been made.
Less than two years after replacing Joe Paterno as coach of the Nittany Lions, the 44-year-old O’Brien will return to the NFL. He was an offensive assistant under Bill Belichick at New England from 2007-12.
O’Brien was 15-9 at Penn State, hit hard by NCAA sanctions levied for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal that cost the late Paterno his job.
Despite a lack of scholarships, a bowl ban, an overall sense of doom, and many player defections from Paterno’s final roster, O’Brien led the Nittany Lions to two winning seasons (8-4, 7-5), restoring some tempered enthusiasm in Happy Valley.
But now the Nittany Lions are back to the drawing board after losing O’Brien in a similar circumstance that he turned down last year. After his first season, O’Brien interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns, among others, only to stay in State College.
O’Brien will replace Gary Kubiak, who was fired in early December.