Texans introduce O'Brien as head coach

Texans introduce O'Brien as head coach
January 3, 2014, 12:00 pm
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O'Brien on what systems he'll run

Houston met its new head coach on Friday.

Bill O’Brien was announced as the third head coach in Texans’ history during a press conference on Friday morning at Reliant Stadium.

O’Brien, 44, takes over the Texans after spending two seasons as the head coach at Penn State. He also has NFL experience from his seasons with the New England Patriots, for whom he was an offensive assistant and offensive coordinator for a season.

“I have a real passion for the NFL,” O’Brien said. “I had a great experience in New England. It was a fantastic organization and we won a lot of games there and I just really enjoyed the strategy, the week to week, the offseason preparation, the part that I had in the draft and free agency I had up there. I just really enjoyed it and I missed it. I’m really passionate about the Houston Texans because of the people I’ve met here.”

Owner Bob McNair, GM Rick Smith and COO Cal McNair joined O’Brien on the stage as the Texans officially announced their third head coach in franchise history.

“We had our criteria of what we were looking for in terms of a head coach and we said we wanted somebody who is smart, somebody that was adaptable, somebody that shows strong leadership, someone who had head coaching experience, who had coaching experience in the NFL, understood what it was all about, had passion for the game and a dedication to winning,” Bob McNair said. “And when we met Bill O’Brien we know that’s what we had. He met all that criteria and that’s why he’s here today.”

O’Brien will take over the worst team in the league. The Texans finished with a 2-14 record in 2013 and will have the first-overall pick this spring.

“You know, it’s great to kick off 2014 this year because I’m ready to kick 2013 the hell out of the door,” Bob McNair said. “I had enough of 2013 and you have too. Our whole organization is committed to quality and excellence. What happened last year is not acceptable. It’s not what we do and it’s not what’s going to happen in the future. So with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I saw 2014 arrive on the scene and to arrive in such a grand way that we could welcome a new coach of the caliber that we have here today makes it even more exciting.”

Bob McNair reiterated what he said when the team fired Gary Kubiak with three weeks remaining in the season. He said that move was made to get a jump start on the new coaching hire and it worked.

Smith said one of the most important characteristics O’Brien possesses is the ability to change and adapt as an innovator. He mentioned that the 2013 Texans had 16 players finish on Injured Reserve. “You have to be an innovator,” Smith said.

Smith said the Texans interviewed other candidates aside from O’Brien and Lovie Smith but elected to withhold their names. He mentioned that those candidates would have done a nice job but the team felt O’Brien was the best fit.

O’Brien took over a Penn State program in shambles in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal but led the Nittany Lions to a 15-9 record in two seasons. O’Brien said his time at Penn State made him more ready to take over an NFL team.

"I just want to thank Penn State for the opportunity they gave me to be their head football coach," said O'Brien, who admitted he regrets not being able to continue coaching the players on that team. "I love the players at Penn State and I respect their toughness and their resiliency and everything that they've demonstrated on a day-to-day basis."

O’Brien wasn’t at Penn State long but while there, he did get the head coaching experience that McNair wanted in his candidate. And that head coaching experience helped prepare O’Brien for this role as an NFL head coach.

“Certainly. I think anytime you go from being a coordinator to being a head coach, that’s a difficult move just for the fact that you’ve never done that,” O’Brien said. “When you sit in that seat for the first time and all the different things that come across your desk start to come across your desk and all the different people that come into your office on a daily basis and they start coming in, that’s a different experience that you’ve never had as an assistant coach. I think that, again, my two years at Penn State really helped me in being prepared for this job.”

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