Posted June 20, 2013

Penn State amends head coach Bill O’Brien’s contract

Bill O'Brien, Penn State Nittany Lions
Bill O'Brien

Bill O’Brien will make $1,932,779 in ’13, a nearly $1 million raise from his previous Penn State contract. (Fred Vuich/SI)

By Zac Ellis

On the heels of a season in which Bill O’Brien led Penn State to an improbable 8-4 record, the Nittany Lions have amended their head coach’s contract, the school announced on Thursday.

O’Brien’s amended contract will see his salary increase from $950,000 in 2012 to $1,932,779 in 2013, a nearly $1 million raise. However, O’Brien’s new base salary will decrease to $1,137,096 in 2014 before climbing back to $1,650,994 in 2015. His base salary will experience a five-percent bump in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

“[Athletic director] Dave [Joyner] and I had talked about revising Coach O’Brien’s contract at the end of the season, and these discussions moved forward with my blessing and involvement,” said Penn State President Rodney Erickson in a statement.

Despite the lingering shadow of the Jerry Sandusky scandal that hung over Penn State at the start of last season, O’Brien led the Nittany Lions to a successful campaign — including a 6-2 mark in the Big Ten — in his first as head coach. O’Brien’s eight wins were the most by a first-year coach in the program’s history, and the former New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator was selected as the 2012 Bear Bryant, Maxwell Football Club and ESPN Coach of the Year.

“In the face of great adversity, Bill did a tremendous job with all facets of the Penn State football program,” Joyner said in a statement. “This rightly recognizes Bill’s outstanding achievements in guiding our student-athletes on and off the field.”

Soon after O’Brien took over in State College, the NCAA doled out its punishment following the Sandusky scandal, which included a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban and massive scholarship reductions. Rumors circulated following the 2012 season that O’Brien might return to the NFL, but Joyner said this month that O’Brien is set to remain in Happy Valley for the long haul. “I can tell you we talk in terms of years and years,” Joyner told the AP. “We make plans for years and years.”

Penn State returns 16 starters entering the 2013 campaign. It kicks off its season against Syracuse on Aug. 31 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

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