Sources: Bill O'Brien reaches agreement to become Houston Texans head coach

In this April 20, 2013, file photo, Penn State coach Bill O'Brien answers questions during a news conference in State College, Pa. Two people familiar with the negotiations said Tuesday night, Dec. 31, 2013, that O'Brien has reached an agreement to coach the Houston Texans. The people spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because an official announcement hasn't been made. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

He has never really tried to hide his desire to lead an NFL team one day, not since he took over at Penn State two years ago.

Many just didn稚 think it would happen so soon.

But after more than four days of intense rumors, ESPN.com and the Houston Chronicle reported late Tuesday that the Houston Texans and Bill O達rien reached an agreement for O達rien to coach their team in 2014.

And for the second time in three winters, Penn State which never really knew what a football coach search was about for decades is hiring again.

滴e痴 got to follow his dreams, if you get what I知 saying, said former Penn State cornerback Stephon Morris, who was a senior leader on O達rien痴 first team.

的 was talking to him before season, and his heart was at Penn State but his dream job always was coaching in the NFL. I know as a fan it痴 hard for me to understand. We were spoiled by Coach Paterno coaching for 50-plus years.

As expected, a vocal segment of Penn State痴 vast fan base expressed disappointment and anger through social media outlets as O達rien痴 departure became more imminent in the last couple of days.

The emotion, at least in some ways, is to be understood.

Since November of 2011, the university痴 football followers have endured the shock of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, the firing and death of iconic coach Joe Paterno, the arrest of three highly-placed officials and harsh NCAA sanctions, which has wiped away bowl games and led to the defection of prominent players.

O達rien, a highly placed but little-known offensive coach for the New England Patriots, earned the job in January of 2012.

Soon enough, he was forced to help keep his team together after the sanctions were announced and rebounded from an 0-2 start to earn national coach of the year honors.

His eight victories in 2012 were the most ever by a first-year Penn State head coach in 126 years.

He then rebuffed NFL overtures last winter to return to Penn State with a restructured contract, including a hefty pay raise and a lowered NFL buyout clause.

He followed up a remarkable coaching transformation of quarterback Matt McGloin in 2012 with the highly-acclaimed tutoring of true freshman QB Christian Hackenberg this past season.

Though more uneven, the 2013 season still included a memorable four-overtime upset of Michigan and a season-ending, shocking victory in Wisconsin as 24-point underdogs while only dressing about 60 scholarship players.

Even brighter days appear headed quickly for the Nittany Lions, who received some sanctions relief from the NCAA last September and could very well receive more modifications in 2014. The team opens the season in Ireland and could be eligible for a bowl game, as well.

And yet it wasn稚 enough to deter O達rien痴 dream landing spot.

He chose the Texans, who despite their unsightly 2-14 record, are regarded as a promising franchise with a strong talent base and a non-meddling owner who preaches stability. O達rien will receive the top pick in April痴 NFL Draft and seems well-prepared to fix Houston痴 most glaring weakness -- quarterback inefficiency.

Morris, for one, waved off the notion that O達rien was beholden to any of his Penn State players or fans.

的 didn稚 commit to Coach O達rien. I committed because of the university, Morris said of decision to stay in July of 2012. 的 committed to the whole university, to everything that we love. Coach O達rien has committed to us enough.

徹達rien did a hell of a job. He already put the work in. Whoever is the next coach has an easy job compared him.

As for potential replacement candidates, names that continue to be talked about over and again include Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, Miami head coach Al Golden, Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak, recently-fired Tampa Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano and San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

Golden and Schiano coached under Paterno and Golden and Munchak played for him. Franklin is a native of suburban Philadelphia.

Another possibility is Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, another former Penn State assistant as well as former a head coach at Wake Forest and with the Indianapolis Colts.

Information from the York Daily Record/Sunday News, www.ydr.com

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