CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Boston College William V. Campbell Director of Athletics Blake James announced today that Bill O'Brien has accepted the position as the Gregory P. Barber '69 and Family Head Coach of the BC football program. O'Brien, a former head coach of Penn State and the Houston Texans, will be introduced to the media and campus community on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 11 a.m. inside the Barber Room on the second floor of the Yawkey Athletics Center.
O'Brien becomes the 37th head coach in Boston College history. He arrives at the Heights from Ohio State, where he was recently named the Buckeyes' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
"I am thrilled to welcome Bill O'Brien, his wife Colleen, and his sons Jack and Michael to Boston College," James said. "When we embarked on this search, we prioritized finding a coach who believes in our mission and vision, who has a plan for greatness on and off the field, and who will work tirelessly to elevate BC Football."
James added, "Bill is a gifted leader who has had a tremendous amount of success as a head coach and coordinator at both the collegiate and NFL levels. His passion for teaching football and developing young men make him a great fit to lead Boston College to greater heights."
A 32-year coaching veteran in the college and professional ranks, O'Brien was elevated to his first head coaching post at Penn State in 2012. He guided the Nittany Lions to an overall record of 15-9 and 10-6 Big Ten mark during the span of two seasons while directing the program through a postseason ban. He was named the head coach of the NFL's Houston Texans in 2014, leading the franchise to a 52-48 record, four AFC South Division titles, and four playoff appearances - including two Wild Card round wins - between 2014 and 2020.
While with Penn State, O'Brien was recognized in 2012 with a pair of national coaching awards - the Paul "Bear" Bryant National Coach of the Year, and the George Munger Award for Coach of the Year by the Maxwell Football Club. The Nittany Lions' eight wins in 2012 were the most by a first-year head coach in Penn State history, earning O'Brien Big Ten Coach of the Year honors. In 2013, O'Brien and Penn State won seven games, including two top 25 victories, downing No. 18 Michigan at home and winning at No. 14 Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions boasted two first team All-Americans during his tenure - linebacker Michael Mauti (2012) and wide receiver Allen Robinson (2013) - and 10 All-Big Ten selections.
O'Brien returned to the NFL in 2014 as the head coach of the Houston Texans. During his tenure, Houston posted five winning seasons, including back-to-back double-digit win seasons in 2018 (11-5) and 2019 (10-6). The 21 combined wins rank as the second-most in a two-year span in franchise history. Houston's offense ranked in the top-10 in rushing in the league on four occasions. The 2019 Texans' squad featured a 3,500-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher, and a 1,000-yard receiver for only the fourth time in franchise history.
After his time in Houston, O'Brien returned to the college game as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban in 2021 and 2022. He mentored Heisman Trophy winning QB Bryce Young and helped the Crimson Tide reach the College Football Playoff national championship game in 2021. In his second season, Alabama was fourth nationally in scoring offense (41.1 points/game), 11th in total offense (477.1 yards/game) and 19th in passing offense (281.5 yards/game) en route to an 11-2 record and a victory in the Sugar Bowl.
O'Brien, who totaled six years across two stints on Bill Belichick's staff, helped guide the New England Patriots to two AFC titles and appearances in Super Bowl XLII and XLVI in six total years on the Patriots' coaching staff. Most recently, he spent the 2023 season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the New England Patriots. He served in four different roles in Foxboro, including offensive coordinator during the 2011 season. With O'Brien as the OC, the Patriots went 13-3, earned the top-seed in the AFC, led the AFC in scoring (32.1 points per game), and ranked second in the NFL in total offense (428.0 yards per game) on the way to the Super Bowl. O'Brien was also the quarterbacks coach for two seasons, working directly with Tom Brady. During that time, Brady earned 2010 Associated Press MVP and All-Pro First Team honors.
Before entering the NFL, O'Brien gained 14 years of experience at the collegiate level, including 12 years in the ACC. His coaching career began at his alma mater Brown, serving as the tight ends coach (1993) and inside linebackers coach (1994). He then began an eight-year stretch at Georgia Tech as a graduate assistant (1995-97), running backs coach (1998-00) and offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (2001-02). O'Brien then spent two seasons as the running backs coach at Maryland (2003-04) before a two-year stint as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Duke (2005-06).
Originally from Dorchester, Mass., O'Brien played linebacker and defensive end at Brown and graduated with a double concentration in political science and organizational behavioral management in 1992. O'Brien and his wife, Colleen, have two sons, Jack and Michael.