Though Bill O’Brien won’t have a Super Bowl ring on his finger, he will have the support of some Penn State students.
Many turned out to write welcome wishes to new head football coach O’Brien and sign the university’s sportsmanship pledge Monday afternoon in the HUB-Robeson Center, at an event sponsored by Penn State PRIDE Sportsmanship Team.
Between 100 and 150 picked up Sharpies and signed both welcome notes to the new coach, as well as PRIDE’s sportsmanship pledge, PRIDE secretary Marissa Peterson said.
O’Brien was hired as Penn State’s head football coach Jan. 6. Since then, he continued to work as the New England Patriots offensive coordinator. The Patriots lost to the Giants in Sunday’s Super Bowl 21-17.
The pledge is meant to get fans to act in a sportsmanlike fashion — which means abstaining from booing or “trash talking” during sporting events — said PRIDE member Mickey Boylan.
More phrases, like “We’re rooting for you,” “Get us a BIG 10,” “Welcome Coach,” and other wishes to O’Brien filled a poster, titled “WE BELIEVE, Welcome to Penn State, Coach O’Brien.”
Also at the table set up in the HUB, was a “Did you know…” poster featuring facts about the new coach. The poster featured information about O’Brien’s education at Brown University and his birthday, Oct. 23, 1969. As students signed the pledge and wrote warm wishes, they also expressed their excitement for O’Brien to take the field.
Paternoville member Kayla Meier said she is excited for the new coach and believes he will do a great job.
Meier (sophomore-hotel, restaurant and institutional management) also noted the difficulty for anyone to adjust to a new environment, believing a few encouraging words of welcome may help.
Others echoed similar sentiments.
“We need to show as much support as possible so we have a chance of doing well next [football] season and to re-unify the Penn State community,” Olivia Kerrigan (freshman-biology) said.
Kerrigan also said O’Brien is now part of the Penn State community, and he deserves the support of the university community.
Boylan (sophomore-public relations) also said he was excited to see what O’Brien can bring to the football program.
Peterson (sophomore-public relations) and others at the table even asked participants trivia facts about the new coach.
PRIDE had initially wanted a celebration for O’Brien if the Patriots had won the Super Bowl.
But those plans were changed before the Super Bowl took place as the sportsmanship team felt more participants would be receptive to signing the poster, Peterson, said.
The poster will be laminated soon and then presented to coach O’Brien in his office.