University Park, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Larry Johnson has been named the
interim head football coach at Penn State after Bill O'Brien officially
informed the university of his decision to take the head coaching vacancy with
the NFL's Houston Texans.
O'Brien spent the past two seasons at Penn State and compiled a record of 15-9
while dealing with severe NCAA sanctions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky
scandal. The Nittany Lions were 7-5 in 2013.
Reports of O'Brien's decision to leave the Nittany Lions surfaced earlier this
"Penn State would like to extend its best wishes to Bill O'Brien," said Penn
State president Rodney Erickson and Nittany Lions athletic director Dave
Joyner in a joint statement Thursday. "Coach O'Brien was a tremendous leader
during a challenging time at our university, guiding our student athletes to
success both on the field and in the classroom. We will always be grateful to
him for his time here at Penn State."
Joyner said the university will begin an immediate search for a full-time
replacement while Johnson serves in the interim role.
"We need to do everything we can to support the needs of our student-athletes
during this period," said Joyner. "I am very confident in Larry Johnson, the
coaches and staff in maintaining continuity and working with the returning
players and recruits. We intend to move quickly in our search to identify the
next great Penn State football coach."
Johnson is in his 19th season as a Penn State coach and has been the defensive
line coach for 15 years. His son, Larry, played for the Nittany Lions and
became just the ninth player in NCAA history to rush for 2,000 yards in a
season in 2002.
The Sports Network