5 things to know about Alabama football offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien as a head coach candidate

Mikey DiLullo
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien has been mentioned as a potential head coaching candidate for schools across college football. O'Brien is no stranger to head coaching jobs, and Alabama is used to losing Nick Saban's assistants to head coaching jobs.

Here are five things to know about Bill O'Brien:

He's been a college head coach

O'Brien was hired by Penn State in 2012 to replace Joe Paterno. O'Brien was tasked with rebuilding the Nittany Lions in the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, and performed admirably given NCAA sanctions. Despite losing 40 scholarships and serving a bowl ban, O'Brien went 15-9 in two seasons in Happy Valley.

More:How Alabama football found a way to win despite everything Arkansas threw at the Tide

College coaching honors

After going 8-4 in 2012, O'Brien was recognized for his achievement both in the Big Ten and nationally. He won the Big Ten Coach of the Year award as well as the Paul Bryant Award and George Munger Award for national coach of the year. He was the second Penn State coach to win those awards, after Paterno.

Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien walks the field in warmups before an NCAA college football game against Mississippi, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

He's coached in the NFL, too

In 2014, he parlayed his success at Penn State into a job with the Houston Texans. He had an up-and-down tenure in Houston, winning four AFC South titles in his first six seasons. However, after an 0-4 start in 2020, O'Brien was fired. He went 52-48 in his time in the NFL.

More:Alabama football QB Bryce Young adds best game yet to Heisman Trophy candidacy

Learned from the best

Before joining Penn State, O'Brien served in a variety of roles under Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots. He won four AFC East titles and went to two Super Bowls under Belichick in New England, including one as an offensive coordinator in 2011.

Coached the greatest of all time

O'Brien joined the Patriots staff in 2007 as an offensive assistant. That season, Tom Brady set an NFL record with 50 touchdown passes and won his first NFL MVP. Brady won his second MVP, becoming the first unanimous MVP in NFL history, in 2010 with O' Brien serving as quarterbacks coach.