COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State head coach Ryan Day announced Friday that Bill O’Brien, a 34-year coaching veteran who has had successful head coaching positions in both the NFL and college football, has been hired as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“I am extremely pleased to be able to add Bill O’Brien to our coaching staff,” Day said. “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.”
Brian Hartline will be co-offensive coordinator in addition to continuing in his capacity as one of the nation’s premier wide receivers coaches. It is anticipated that Corey Dennis, quarterbacks coach the past four seasons, will transition into a still-to-be-determined role with the program.
O’Brien, who spent the 2023 season as the New England Patriots offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, has experience in the Big Ten Conference. From 2012-13, he served as the head coach at Penn State, where he was the 2012 Paul “Bear” Bryant National Coach of the Year as well as the Big Ten Coach of the Year. O’Brien, who also served as offensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions, won more games – eight – than any other first-year head coach in Penn State history.
Following his two-year run in State College, O’Brien spent six full seasons and part of a seventh as the head coach of the Houston Texans. His teams compiled a 52-48 record with four AFC South titles, four playoff appearances and two appearances in the AFC Divisional Round. Houston was one of just three teams in the NFL to win four division titles from 2015-2019, and its 21 wins over the 2018 and 2019 seasons were the second-most in a two-year span in franchise history.
O’Brien’s offenses in Houston proved to be balanced and potent with the Texans ranking in the top 10 in the league in rushing yards to pair with quarterback Deshaun Watson, who threw for 4,165 yards in 2018 and 3,852 yards in 2019. The 2019 team featured a 3,500-yard passer (Watson), a 1,000-yard rusher (Carlos Hyde) and a 1,000-yard receiver (DeAndre Hopkins) for just the fourth time in franchise history.
After his time in Houston, O’Brien returned to the college game as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Alabama in 2021 and 2022. There, he mentored Heisman Trophy winning QB Bryce Young and helped the Crimson Tide reach the College Football Playoff national championship game in 2021. In his second season, Alabama was fourth nationally in scoring offense (41.1 points/game), 11th in total offense (477.1 yards/game) and 19th in passing offense (281.5 yards/game) while going 11-2 with a Sugar Bowl victory.
A member of the New England Patriots’ coaching staff from 2007-11, O’Brien helped lead New England to a pair of Super Bowl berths and coached quarterback Tom Brady through some of the most productive seasons of his career. He rose from offensive assistant to wide receivers coach in 2008 and then quarterbacks coach from 2009-10 prior to being named offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 2011. The Patriots earned the top seed in the AFC in 2011 with a 13-3 record and advanced to Super Bowl XLVI with O’Brien coordinating the offense. New England led the AFC in scoring (32.1 points per game) and was second in the NFL in total offense (428.0 yards per game) and passing (317.8). Brady threw for 5,235 yards (a career-high at that time) and 39 touchdowns during that 2011 campaign.
Prior to joining the New England staff, O’Brien served as offensive coordinator at Duke during the 2005-06 seasons. Before that, O’Brien was the running backs coach at Maryland (2004) after spending eight years at Georgia Tech in a number 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.
O’Brien was a linebacker and defensive end at Brown from 1990-92 and graduated with his degree in political science and organizational behavioral management in 1992. He and his wife, Colleen, have two sons: Jack and Michael.