Former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien wanted the Penn State football job badly enough that he passed up a potential interview for the Jacksonville Jaguars head coaching job in January.
Despite the massive discipline imposed on Penn State on Monday, don't expect O'Brien suddenly to run from his responsibility as head coach.
"Today we receive a very harsh penalty from the NCAA and as Head Coach of the Nittany Lions football program, I will do everything in my power to not only comply, but help guide the University forward to become a national leader in ethics, compliance and operational excellence," O'Brien said in a statement. "I knew when I accepted the position that there would be tough times ahead. But I am committed for the long term to Penn State and our student athletes.
"I was then and I remain convinced that our student athletes are the best in the country. I could not be more proud to lead this team and these courageous and humble young men into the upcoming 2012 season. Together we are committed to building a better athletic program and university."
O'Brien's statement is laudable and necessary at a time of great upheaval at Penn State. Coaching in college is about more than just preparing players for the pros. O'Brien's difficult task will be to lead a group of young men through a virtually unprecedented circumstance.