“I am thrilled to welcome Bill O’Brien, his wife Colleen, and his sons Jack and Michael to Boston College,” Director of Athletics Blake James said in the release. “When we embarked on this search, we prioritized finding a coach who believes in our mission and vision, who has a plan for greatness on and off the field, and who will work tirelessly to elevate BC Football.”
O’Brien takes over the program just nine days after former head coach Jeff Hafley left BC to become the Green Bay Packers’ next defensive coordinator. Hafley’s final season with the Eagles ended with a 7–6 record and was capped off with a 23–14 win in the 2023 Fenway Bowl over No. 17 SMU.
“Bill is a gifted leader who has had a tremendous amount of success as a head coach and coordinator at both the collegiate and NFL levels,” James said. “His passion for teaching football and developing young men make him a great fit to lead Boston College to greater heights.”
O’Brien comes to the Heights with a high-level NCAA resume. O’Brien started his coaching career in 1993 at Brown, his alma mater, as a tight ends coach. After a string of other college football coaching stints—including offensive coaching roles at Georgia Tech, Maryland, and Duke—O’Brien ultimately made the jump to the NFL in 2007.
O’Brien, an Andover, Mass. native and St. John’s Prep alumnus, joined the New England Patriots in 2007. He served as an offensive assistant on the Patriots squad that finished the regular season with an undefeated 16–0 record en route to a Super Bowl appearance. In 2008, O’Brien became the wide receivers coach, before shifting roles once again in 2009 when he became the quarterbacks coach. In 2010, O’Brien served as the offensive coordinator, in addition to the quarterbacks coach, on another Patriots team destined for the Super Bowl.
Following the conclusion of the 2011 season, O’Brien left the NFL and returned to college football to take over a disheveled Penn State program. In the 2012 and 2013 seasons, O’Brien led the Nittany Lions to a 15–9 record before again making the leap to the NFL to take over as the Houston Texans’ head coach, a position he held from 2014–20.
Over his first six full seasons, O’Brien coached the Texans to a 52–44 overall record and four playoff appearances. After Week Four of the 2020 NFL season, O’Brien was fired by the Texans as both head coach and general manager after an 0–4 start.
In 2021, O’Brien teamed up with Alabama head coach Nick Saban as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, helping Alabama make a national championship appearance in 2021 and earn a Sugar Bowl win in 2022.
O’Brien returned to the Patriots after over a decade of time apart as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Under his command, however, the Patriots ranked among the worst offenses in the NFL.
Most recently, O’Brien joined Ohio State as its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in January 2024. O’Brien, however, never called a play for the Buckeyes.
A skilled offensive schemer, O’Brien brings serious potential to attract offensive talent from across the country, especially given his experience working with NFL players such as Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski, and Bryce Young.