He will be introduced at a news conference scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET Saturday in State College, Pa.
Here are statements on O'Brien's hiring:
O'Brien: "I am thrilled to be the head coach of the Penn State football program. I cannot tell you how excited I am to get started, meet the team, meet the football alumni and meet all of the people that make this University so special. As head coach of this special football program, it is my responsibility to ensure that this program represents the highest level of character, respect and integrity in everything we do. That includes my coaching staff, our players and everyone involved in the football program. There is tremendous pride in Penn State football and will never, ever take that for granted."
Acting athletic director Dave Joyner: "We have found the man to take Penn State football forward. Needless to say, we have been looking for someone with some very special qualities, beginning with a heart that beats to the values and vision of Penn State University and our Penn State football legacy and tradition. That was our starting point, and Coach O'Brien exemplifies those traits that Penn Staters hold so highly. In addition to his model characteristics as a man and a teacher, he’s all about producing winners, and doing so the right way. He will embrace tradition, demand excellence and pursue Success with Honor in every phase of our program."
President Rodney Erickson: "The Penn State football program has a great legacy and has contributed enormously to our University community. A program of this caliber requires a special kind of leader -- a leader who will embrace that legacy and maintain the University’s commitment to excellence on the field and in the classroom. We have that leader in Coach O'Brien, and I look forward to working with him in his new role."
O'Brien succeeds Joe Paterno, who released a statement earlier Friday congratulating the new coach.
"I understand Bill O'Brien has been named head coach and I want to congratulate him on his appointment," Paterno's statement reads. "I don't know Bill, but I respect his coaching record, and I am particularly pleased we share a connection to my alma mater, Brown. ... Despite recent commentary to the contrary, Penn State football has always been about more than winning. I am hopeful this tradition will continue."
Tom Bradley was informed earlier Friday that he wouldn't receive the permanent head coaching position. Bradley and the other assistants remain on staff for the time being.
More to come on this story, and we'll have a full recap of O'Brien's news conference Saturday.