BrownBears.com will feature one former male and female student-athlete each month who has gone on to achieve success in the workplace, as well as exhibit the spirit of Brown University within the community. The monthly installments will provide highlights of the selectees’ athletic careers at Brown and offer a glimpse into their current career paths.
Alumni Spotlight – Bill O’Brien ‘92
A native of Dorchester, Mass., O’Brien was a two-year letterman for the Brown football team in 1991 and 1992, playing defensive end and linebacker. After graduating, Bill joined the Bears football staff as the tight ends coach for the 1993 season before coaching the inside linebackers during the 1994 campaign.
O’Brien moved on after the 1994 season, spending the next eight years at Georgia Tech as he moved up the ranks of the Yellow Jackets’ staff under current UCF head coach, George O’Leary. Bill’s tenure at Georgia Tech culminated with a promotion to assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterbacks coach in the 2002 season under Chan Gailey.
Bill moved on to coach the running backs at Maryland from 2003-04 before being hired as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Duke for the following two seasons. After Duke, O’Brien got the call from the NFL as he joined the New England Patriots’ staff from 2007-11.
With the Patriots, Bill served as an offensive assistant, wide receivers coach, and quarterbacks coach before a stint as offensive coordinator during the 2011 season. With O’Brien’s play calling in 2011, the Patriots recorded a 13-3 record in the regular season, ultimately falling in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. The team enjoyed tremendous offensive success that season under Bill, finishing second in the NFL with 428.0 yards per game and third in scoring with 32.1 points per game.
O’Brien’s success in New England propelled him to Penn State, where he was named head coach in January of 2012. Despite NCAA sanctions, O’Brien guided the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record in 2012, earning him Big Ten Coach of the Year honors as well as the Paul “Bear” Bryant College Coach of the Year Award.
After another winning season in 2013, O’Brien recently returned to the NFL as the head coach of the Houston Texans.
Alumni and fans are encouraged to participate in the Alumni Spotlight nomination process by submitting nominees to firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominations should include: notable career achievements, current occupation, location, recent photos, and notable contributions to the community.