Lions' O'Brien gets a raise

Amended deal will average out to about $500,000 more per year for the second-year coach. The university announced the news Thursday.

After guiding Penn State through the first year of difficult NCAA sanctions, Nittany Lion coach Bill O'Brien has received a substantial raise. The university announced a restructuring of the second-year coach's contract Thursday.

It includes a nearly $1 million raise for the 2013 season and the use of private aircraft. On average, O'Brien will receive roughly $500,000 more per year than he would have under the old deal.

His compensation now will average about $2.5 million per year (before incentives) through the 2016 season.

“In the face of great adversity, Bill did a tremendous job with all facets of the Penn State football program,” PSU athletic director Dave Joyner said. “This rightly recognizes Bill's outstanding achievements in guiding our student-athletes on and off the field.”


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O'Brien led the Nittany Lions, who were stung by NCAA sanctions stemming from the university's handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, to an unlikely 8-4 record last season. He was named national coach of the year by the Maxwell Club and ESPN.

The five-year contract O'Brien signed in January 2012 included a base salary of $950,000 that was to increase by five percent each year. He was also slated to make $1 million per year for doing radio and television shows, and other program-related activities. He was eligible for incentive bonuses of up to $200,000 per year, too.

Under the amended deal, the radio and TV money, as well as the possible incentive bonuses, remain the same. However, his base salary will now be $1,932,779 this year, $1,137,096 in 2014 and $1,650,994 in 2015. After that, his salary will increase by five percent per year.

His 2013 salary includes a lump payment of $935,279.

As before, the deal is set to end in January of 2017, but can be extended by one, two or three years in 2016 if both parities agree on the extension.

If O'Brien were to leave for an NFL job before the contract ends, he would have to pay back whatever it left on the PSU deal. The former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, O'Brien interviewed with three NFL teams last winter before deciding to stay at Penn State.

The terms of the new contract also include a provision for O'Brien to use private aircraft paid for by PSU for recruiting and other university business. He can do so up to 85 hours per year. He can also use private aircraft paid for by the school for personal use for up to 35 hours per year.

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