Boston College hiring former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien as head coach

Bill O'Brien watches warmups for the Patriots’game against the Steelers earlier this season.

Bill O'Brien watches warmups for the Patriots’game against the Steelers earlier this season. AP FILE


Associated Press

Published: 02-09-2024 3:38 PM

Bill O’Brien will be the new head coach at Boston College, opting to return to his hometown for a top job instead of taking the offensive coordinator position at Ohio State he accepted just last month, a person with direct knowledge of the move told The Associated Press on Friday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the school was still working to finalize the hire. The decision was first reported by New England Football Journal.

The Boston native, who was the New England Patriots offensive coordinator last season, replaces Jeff Hafley, who left Chestnut Hill to be defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. The Eagles were 22-26 in four seasons under Hafley, who had been the DC at Ohio State.

O’Brien had been hired to be the Buckeyes OC on Jan. 19.

O’Brien was last a head coach for the Houston Texans, where he went 54-52 from 2014-20. Since then, he has worked for Alabama and the Patriots as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

O’Brien also worked for New England from 2007-11. In his second stint with the Patriots, O’Brien presided over an offense that struggled under 2021 first-round draft choice Mac Jones, whom he’d also coached at Alabama.

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The Patriots went 4-13 last season and fired Bill Belichick, replacing him with Jerod Mayo.

Boston College earned six wins in each of Hafley’s first two seasons in Chestnut Hill, opting out of a bowl game in the pandemic-tainted 2020 season and then scratching from the 2021 Military Bowl because of a COVID outbreak.

BC went 3-9 in 2022, a season beset by injuries and the same quarterback shuffling that characterized much of Hafley’s tenure in the Heights. When the Eagles opened this season 1-3, Hafley’s job was in jeopardy; five straight wins earned them another bowl berth.