Bill O’Brien hired as Crimson Tide offensive coordinator
University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban on Thursday evening announced the hire of Bill O’Brien as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
O’Brien arrives in Tuscaloosa after six-plus years as the head coach of the NFL’s Houston Texans, where he compiled a 52-48 record that included four AFC South titles, four playoff appearances and two appearances in the AFC Divisional Round.
A release from Alabama Athletics noted that O’Brien’s offenses in Houston proved to be balanced and potent with the Texans ranking in the top-10 in the league in rushing yards, while quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for 4,165 yards in 2018 and 3,852 yards in 2019.
“We are pleased and happy to be able to add Bill O’Brien to our coaching staff,” Saban said in a statement. “He has a wealth of experience as both an offensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL and college. Bill is one of the brightest offensive minds in football, an outstanding teacher and excellent recruiter. He will strengthen our coaching staff and give our players the best possible chance to be successful.”
O’Brien fills the vacancy left by Steve Sarkisian becoming the Texas Longhorns’ head coach.
“I am honored and excited to join Coach Saban’s staff at The University of Alabama,” O’Brien stated. “I have an incredible amount of admiration for the rich football tradition at this University and the success Coach Saban has had during his time in Tuscaloosa. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work with some of the best football players in the country, while helping to continue the success this program has enjoyed for many years.”
Prior to joining the Texans, he took on one of the tallest tasks in college football history when he was named head coach at Penn State on January 6, 2012, succeeding Joe Paterno. O’Brien spent two years leading the Nittany Lions program, posting a 15-9 overall record and a 10-6 mark in the Big Ten. During that time, Penn State was under a four-season postseason ban and a loss of 40 scholarships due to the child sex abuse scandal that occurred during Paterno’s tenure.
O’Brien was named the Bear Bryant, Maxwell Football Club and ESPN National Coach of the Year after winning more games than any other first-year head coach in the program’s previous 125 seasons during the 2012 season.
Before his time at Penn State, O’Brien spent five years on Bill Belichick’s staff in New England, including calling offensive plays for three seasons and serving as the offensive coordinator in 2011. He coached in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI and was Tom Brady’s position coach during his 2010 MVP season.
All together, O’Brien boasts 28 years of collegiate and NFL coaching experience and was last a college offensive coordinator at Duke during the 2005-06 seasons. Prior to his time with the Blue Devils, O’Brien served as the running backs coach at Maryland (2004) after spending eight years at Georgia Tech in a myriad of roles, including graduate assistant, running backs, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks and assistant head coach (1995-2002). O’Brien started his career at Brown, coaching the tight ends in 1993 and the inside linebackers in 1994.
This came after O’Brien played linebacker and defensive end at Brown from 1990-92 and graduated with a double concentration in political science and organizational behavioral management. He and his wife, Colleen, have two sons, Jack and Michael.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn