Penn State Gives Football Coach O’Brien Almost $1 Million Raise

Penn State football coach Bill O’Brien is getting a raise of almost $1 million in base pay after leading the team to an 8-4 record in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal and the death of coach Joe Paterno.

In his first season at the State College, Pennsylvania-based school, O’Brien was selected the 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year and was named the Bear Bryant, Maxwell Football Club and ESPN Coach of the Year nationally. The Nittany Lions went 8-4, the most wins by a first-year coach in their 126 years.

“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 on the school’s website. “This rightly recognizes Bill’s outstanding achievements in guiding our student-athletes on and off the field.”

O’Brien’s raise is $982,779, boosting his salary to $1.9 million, according to the contract. He was hired in January 2012 and was paid a base salary of $950,000 last season, the first year of a four-year postseason ban for Penn State imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in reaction to the Sandusky scandal. The NCAA also reduced football scholarships at Penn State and fined the school $60 million.

When income from radio and television and a Nike contract is included, O’Brien’s contract for the year beginning July 1 will be worth $3.3 million, according to a copy of the contract posted to the school’s website. He is eligible for an additional $200,000 in bonuses.

Penn State returns 16 starters and 38 letter winners for the 2013 season, which begins Aug. 31 vs. Syracuse at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Sandusky is serving a minimum 30-year prison term after being convicted of abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period.

Paterno, who set records for on-field success as the coach of Penn State, died on Jan. 22, 2012, at the age of 85. He was fired in November 2011 after 46 seasons at the university, following criticism that he failed to contact police when told of an abuse case involving Sandusky, an ex-assistant.

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