Ohio State Hires Bill O’Brien As Offensive Coordinator

By Dan Hope on January 19, 2024 at 11:42 am
Bill O’Brien
Eric Canha – USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State is hiring a former NFL and Big Ten head coach as its new offensive coordinator.

Bill O’Brien, the former head coach of Penn State and the Houston Texans who was the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach this past season, was officially hired as Ohio State’s new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Friday.

“I am extremely pleased to be able to add Bill O’Brien to our coaching staff,” Ryan Day said Friday. “He brings with him a wealth of knowledge – and a tremendous amount of success – at both the NFL and collegiate levels. He is an excellent and experienced offensive coach who has run NFL and Power 5 programs and developed some truly elite players throughout his career. He’ll be an excellent teacher and recruiter for us, and he absolutely strengthens our staff.”

O’Brien brings three decades of coaching experience to Ohio State, including several successful stints as an offensive coordinator at both the NFL and collegiate levels. Before becoming the Patriots’ offensive coordinator in 2023, O’Brien was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for two years at Alabama, where Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy under his tutelage in 2021.

Bill O’Brien’s Coaching History
Years Team Title
1993 Brown Tight Ends Coach
1994 Brown Inside Linebackers Coach
1995-97 Georgia Tech Graduate Assistant
1998-2000 Georgia Tech Running Backs Coach
2001-02 Georgia Tech Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
2003-04 Maryland Running Backs Coach
2005-06 Duke Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
2007 New England Patriots Offensive Assistant
2008 New England Patriots Wide Receivers Coach
2009-10 New England Patriots Quarterbacks Coach
2011 New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
2012-13 Penn State Head Coach
2014-20 Houston Texans Head Coach
2021-22 Alabama Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
2023 New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
2024- Ohio State Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach

While his most recent stint with the Patriots was unsuccessful, as New England tied for last in the NFL with only 13.9 points per game in 2023, the Patriots’ offenses consistently ranked among the league’s most prolific in his previous stint with the team from 2007-11, which included one year as offensive coordinator in 2011, a season in which the Patriots won the AFC championship before losing in Super Bowl XLVI.

O’Brien went 15-9 as the head coach at Penn State in 2012 and 2013 despite NCAA sanctions against the program that included a postseason ban and reduction of scholarships in both seasons. He then became the Houston Texans’ head coach in 2014, leading them to four AFC South titles in six seasons before he was fired in 2020.

Given his experience, O’Brien is likely to function as a “head coach for the offense,” much like Jim Knowles does for Ohio State’s defense. He’s expected to take over offensive play-calling duties, allowing Day to take on a CEO role after calling the offensive plays himself for his first five years as head coach.

“He’ll be an excellent teacher and recruiter for us, and he absolutely strengthens our staff.”– Ryan Day on Bill O’Brien

O’Brien is also expected to have input on how the rest of the offensive staff is constructed, opening up the possibility that there could be additional staff changes on the offensive side of the ball. 

Brian Hartline, who held the title of offensive coordinator last year, will remain on staff as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. Corey Dennis, Ohio State’s quarterbacks coach for the past four seasons, is expected to “transition into a still-to-be-determined role with the program,” according to Ohio State’s news release announcing O’Brien’s hire.

O’Brien becomes the second new hire for Ohio State’s 2024 coaching staff, joining Matt Guerrieri, who replaced Perry Eliano as safeties coach. Ohio State still has another vacancy on its coaching staff which is expected to be filled by another defensive assistant – likely a second defensive line coach – after the Buckeyes fired special teams coordinator Parker Fleming.

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