Evans Clinchy
Saturday January 7th, 2012

It's been rumored all day, and now it's official -- Bill O'Brien will indeed be the next head coach of the Penn State football team, according to the Associated Press.

"I am thrilled to be the head coach of the Penn State football program," O'Brien said in a statement. "As head coach of this special football program, it is my responsibility to ensure that this program represents the highest level of character, respect and integrity in everything we do."

The university was expected to make an official announcement on the hiring of the Patriots' offensive coordinator tomorrow morning, but in the wake of speculation all day today and an official statement already being released by former coach Joe Paterno, the athletic department broke the news early.

"We have found the man to take Penn State football forward," acting athletic director David Joyner said. "Needless to say, we have been looking for someone with some very special qualities, beginning with a heart that beats to the values and vision of Penn State University and our Penn State football legacy and tradition." O'Brien, 42, is the first Penn State head coach hired in his lifetime. Paterno had been in place in Happy Valley since 1966, winning 409 games and two national championships.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.