North Carolina State Athletic Director Debbie Yow announced earlier today that former football coach Tom O'Brien's non-compete clause had been waived. Not long after, word began to spread that the former Wolfpack boss would be headed to Charlottesville as an assistant coach. O'Brien, who was the head coach at Boston College before moving to N.C. State, was a longtime assistant at Virginia under George Welsh. From 1982-1996, O'Brien worked in Charlottesville, first as an offensive line coach, then as offensive coordinator for six years.
O'Brien will join Jeff Banks on Virginia's new coaching staff, after Mike London announced the firings of assistants Jim Reid, Shawn Moore, Mike Faragalli and Jeff Hanson following the 2012 season. Banks, coming to UVa from UTEP, will coach the special teams units, as well as the running backs. O'Brien will coach the tight ends group for the first time since his first coaching gig at his alma mater, Navy, under George Welsh in the 1970's. It is assumed that O'Brien will also have some role in offensive game plan and strategy. Although the "Assistant Head Coach" title seems somewhat vague, most would feel that TOB is overqualified to only coach tight ends.
Tom O'Brien seems like a home run hire for Mike London and Virginia as he looks for coaches to help get the Cavaliers back to consistent winning seasons. O'Brien has a wealth of knowledge and experience in college football, and helped UVa achieve some of their highest watermarks as a program during his first tenure in Charlottesville. If the rumors are true, O'Brien might not be the only coach headed to Virginia from Raleigh either. Wolpack defensive assistant and Virginia alum Jon Tenuta is widely considered the frontrunner for the vacant defensive coordinator position at UVa. So far UVa has (reportedly) hired two coaches with a wealth of knowledge about the position groups they will coach, and O'Brien could be a real aid to Coach London in the coming years.