Percolating for weeks, Tom O’Brien’s return to
’s football coaching staff as associate head coach became reality Thursday.
The final hurdle was O’Brien’s contract at
But Thursday afternoon, in response to a question from Joe Ovies of Raleigh’s
Polite and prudent move by State athletic director Debbie Yow.
First, the Cavaliers and Wolfpack reside in opposite divisions, and with the ACC growing to 14 next year, and the teams having just completed a two-year series, odds are they won't even meet during O'Brien's tenure. Second, she saves her school $1 million.
O'Brien agreed to a two-year deal at $450,000 per at Virginia. Add a $150,000 signing bonus and $300,000 retention bonus, and he makes $1.35 million, more than making up the $1 million from N.C. State he sacrificed.
Divide the $1.35 million by two and you get $675,000 per. According to USA Today's database of coaching salaries, only
As Comrade Wood details elsewhere, Virginia officially unveiled O'Brien, defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta (another pricey addition at $500,000 annually for five years), receivers coach Marques Hagans and running backs coach/special teams coordinator Jeff Banks on Thursday night.
O’Brien has been on Virginia executive associate athletic director Jon Oliver’s radar since the Cavaliers announced the dismissal of four assistant coaches Dec. 2. O’Brien was 75-45 in 10 seasons as
From 1982-96, O’Brien worked for George Welsh, 15 seasons that saw the program rise from literal ashes to postseason regulars. He recruited Peninsula stars such as
At age 64, O’Brien could have retired to his South Carolina beach home. But he decided he still wants to coach, and at Virginia he’ll be in familiar surroundings culturally and athletically. Cavs head coach
Some will warn about too many cooks and the prospect of London looking over his shoulder. But O’Brien, who will coach tight ends, has no designs on London’s job. This isn’t a long-term gig, and O’Brien knows his task is to bring his Marine’s sensibilities and discipline — he’s a 1971
A 33-6 homecoming defeat to a Virginia team riding a six-game losing streak may have been a catalyst in N.C. State's firing of O'Brien. But O'Brien was 3-1 against Virginia as a head coach, 1-0 at Boston College, 2-1 at N.C. State.
While O’Brien is connected to
In Hagans’ final game at Virginia, he threw for a career-high 358 yards in a 2005
Can Hagans and O'Brien help the Cavaliers author similar moments?
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Here's Virginia's official release.