Alabama Announces Bill O'Brien As Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach

The former college and NFL head coach will serve as coordinator of the Crimson Tide’s offense and coach quarterbacks

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – It's official. 

The University of Alabama announced the hiring of former Houston Texans and Penn State coach Bill O'Brien to coordinate the Crimson Tide's offense and be the quarterbacks coach on Thursday evening.

O'Brien will be Alabama's fifth different offensive coordinator in six years, replacing Steve Sarkisian who left for the Texas coaching job and helped lead a historic Crimson Tide offense to a 2020 national championship.

"We are pleased and happy to be able to add Bill O'Brien to our coaching staff," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said in a statement. "He has a wealth of experience as both an offensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL and college. Bill is one of the brightest offensive minds in football, an outstanding teacher and excellent recruiter. He will strengthen our coaching staff and give our players the best possible chance to be successful."

He is Saban's eight offensive coordinator since he took over the Alabama program in 2007. The last five offensive coordinator hires have been a part of national championship teams.

O'Brien arrives in Tuscaloosa after serving just over six years as the head coach of the NFL's Houston Texans where he went 52-48 (.520) and won four AFC South titles, made four playoff appearances and two appearances in the AFC Divisional Round. 

His offenses in Houston proved to be balanced and potent with the Texans ranking in the top 10 in the league in rushing yards, while quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for 4,165 yards in 2018 and 3,852 yards in 2019.

"I am honored and excited to join Coach Saban's staff at The University of Alabama," O'Brien said in a press release. "I have an incredible amount of admiration for the rich football tradition at this University and the success Coach Saban has had during his time in Tuscaloosa. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to work with some of the best football players in the country, while helping to continue the success this program has enjoyed for many years."

He also served as the Texans' general manager and was fired from the organization after an 0-4 start to the 2020 season.

Prior to joining the Texans, O'Brien spent two years as coach of the Penn State program, posting a 15-9 overall record and a 10-6 mark in the Big Ten, while garnering national and conference coach-of-the-year awards.

Penn State won eight of its final 10 games to finish the 2012 season with an 8-4 record. O'Brien, who also served as offensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions, was named the Bear Bryant, Maxwell Football Club and ESPN National Coach of the Year after winning more games than any other first-year head coach in the program's previous 125 seasons.

Before his time in Happy Valley, O'Brien spent five years on Bill Belichick's staff in New England, including calling offensive plays for three seasons and serving as the offensive coordinator in 2011. He coached in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI and was Tom Brady's position coach during his 2010 MVP season.

O'Brien owns 28 years of collegiate and NFL coaching experience and was last a college offensive coordinator at Duke during the 2005-06 seasons. Prior to his time with the Blue Devils, O'Brien served as the running backs coach at Maryland (2004) after spending eight years at Georgia Tech in a myriad of roles, including graduate assistant, running backs, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks and assistant head coach (1995-2002). O'Brien started his career at Brown, coaching the tight ends in 1993 and the inside linebackers in 1994.