Bill O’Brien: Penn State decision “not about money”

1/7/13 in NCAAF   |   BrianMaddock   |   1429 respect

Nittany Lions coach Bill O’Brien has been relentlessly criticized since his decision to remain at Penn State. What could have been seen as a noble choice was instead projected as a selfish act when reports cited that Bill O’Brien was taking a hefty pay raise from the Penn State already hard hit by the NCAA sanctions.
Bill O’Brien finally decided to come forth on the issue Monday, denying reports of receiving a $1.3 million pay raise that too by a donor. The 43-year-old Bill O’Brien also refuted reports of any possible structural changes being introduced to the Penn State football program due to his recent interest in NFL coaching vacancies.
"Going back to money and all these things, you really don't know me if you write something or say something that this guy did it for leverage and money," stated Bill O'Brien. “I had a conversation in the best interest of my family with a few people. And at the end of the day this is the decision I made. We're all faced with choices."
“If I was about money, I probably wouldn't be sitting here right now,” continued Bill O’Brien. “It's about making sure that Penn State ... does everything we can do in our power to make sure place is the best it can be for our student athletes."
After last Monday’s wide scale NFL firings several teams reportedly courted Bill O’Brien including the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns, but O’Brien claims “that's as far as it went.”
"In my profession the NFL is the highest level of coaching," said Bill O'Brien. "You don't get any higher than the National Football League. ... At the end of the day the most important thing is the decision I made to be at Penn State. I can't think of a better place to be."
Bill O’Brien confirmed that he’s been in frequent contact with Penn State acting director Dave Joyner discussing possible improvements to the program as part of routine job. However, Bill O’Brien added that no changes had been implemented or suggested for the program in wake of his potential move to NFL and eventual reaffirmed commitment to Penn State.
The Big Ten and Maxwell coach of the Year Bill O’Brien declined to go into specifics of the routine changes/improvements to the Penn State football program saying the information was sorely for the “inner circle.” However, Bill O’Brien indicated there could be bonuses for the assistant coaches as he wanted to see the staff and players motivated towards performing at their highest potential each year.
“We have budgets to live with and we have to run it as a good business but within that you have to keep in mind you want to keep your people happy,” said Dave Joyner on Monday. “We're always trying to improve things for people.”
Dave Joyner added Penn State never considered shortlisting coaching candidates in the event Bill O’Brien decided to jump to NFL. There were similar speculations about Bill O’Brien leaving for greener pastures earlier this summer when the NCAA initially announced its’ sanctions on Penn State.
"I love coaching here… (But) I'm not a genie. I don't have a crystal ball,” Bill O’Brien said regarding his future with Penn State. “Again this is my profession. I'm a coach and this (the NFL) is the highest level, but like I've said, I can't be more clear about this: I love coaching these kids."
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