Dear Coach O'Brien,
Teachers and coaches everywhere wish you the best. As we have all taken new jobs, first jobs, difficult jobs, we came up with a few things to get you started as you finish your time with New England.
1. People that do not know you are already evaluating based on what they've heard. Where did you grow up? Where did you play? What did you do last?
These are all questions they are grinding down over coffee while you get ready for the Broncos. Penn State fans and your new colleagues think they know you.
2. People will talk about you every time you leave the room.
People will re-evaluate you every time they speak with you, see you on campus, or see you on T.V. Be mindful. Control your emotions. Treat everyone the way you would want your grandparents to be treated by the mechanic. Honesty, patience, and understanding are crucial.
Most people generally advise the same things about a new job. But, teachers and coaches our here want you to know how important it is going to be for you to build early relationships. We've all found that secretaries and grounds crews are the best people to befriend. They are the magic mirrors that will tell you all you need to know while everyone else is scrambling and playing their own games behind smiles and hand shakes that may linger just a bit too long.
3. Upper management and administration always have other options.
Your are replaceable; we are all replaceable. The guy's over at ESPN all seem to be writing that you may not have even been the best candidate. You got the job, so forget that nonsense. Just be careful--I'm not sure you can aggressively coach up Matt McGloin like Tom Brady.
4. People depend on you.
Yes, people in Red Sox Nation and Patriot Nation depend on you...but really Belichik and Brady will be the faces of this post season.
Though at University Park, students at the bars, alumni, youth football teams across towns, moms, dads, parents of your student athletes...the list goes on forever. Be a role model and be open to all of the people that are watching. As the St. Andrew's School (RI) basketball coach Michael A. Hart always says, "Be a helper."
5. Culture is uncanny.
You will need to give up some of Bill O'Brien and become part of Penn State before Penn State gives up some of itself to allow the Bill O'Brien era to begin. Pick one or two things a year to work on making your own. Building and changing culture is uncanny.
Best of luck Coach,
Coaches and Teachers world wide