Penn State gives O’Brien a $1 million raise

UNIVERSITY PARK (AP) – Bill O’Brien is getting a nearly $1 million raise after his “tremendous job” in his debut season as Penn State’s football coach.

His contract when he arrived in January 2012 called for a base salary of $950,000. That’s going up to $1.9 million starting July 1, the school said Thursday.

Counting compensation for radio and television work and a Nike contract, O’Brien’s total deal this year would be worth more than $3.2 million.

O’Brien guided the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record after the program was hit by landmark NCAA sanctions for the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal and player defections weeks before the start of the 2012 season.

“In the face of great adversity, Bill did a tremendous job with all facets of the Penn State football program,” athletic director Dave Joyner said in a statement.

University President Rodney Erickson said he and Joyner talked about revising O’Brien’s contract at the end of the season.

“And these discussions moved forward with my blessing and involvement,” Erickson said in a statement.

The base salary would drop to $1.1 million in 2014 before a raise to $1.6 million in 2015. The former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots would then be eligible for a 5 percent raise in 2016.

The revised contract also reverts the length of the deal to the term agreed last January – through the conclusion of the 2016 season. Both sides can start discussing an extension after the 2015 season.

Penn State had announced after the sanctions were announced last July that O’Brien had a clause in his contract that called for the deal to be extended by the length of sanctions. A team spokesman confirmed the contract released Thursday supersedes that clause.

O’Brien drew interest from NFL teams including the Eagles and Browns following the 2012 season in which he electrified Penn State’s offense with schemes resembling the high-scoring attack of the Patriots.

O’Brien said in January that he while he spoke with clubs, no job was ever offered. Since then, O’Brien has switched agents from Joe Linta to Neil Cornrich. The Associated Press left a message Thursday with Cornrich’s office.

The amended contract specifies a buyout clause if O’Brien bolts for the NFL, worth his current year’s base salary times the number of years left on his contract. It’s less than the buyout clause for other reasons, which includes the radio/TV and Nike deal compensation into the equation.

Also, O’Brien could get an annual bonus of up to $200,000 based on the team’s performance. His initial contract allowed for such a bonus based mainly on the Nittany Lions’ postseason success- a meaningless clause given the Big Ten championship game and bowl bans.