Idaho State hires ex-juco coach O'Brien as coach

POCATELLO, Idaho -- Joe O'Brien, one of the most successful coaches in the junior college ranks, was hired Wednesday by Idaho State University as the Bengals' new head basketball coach.

O'Brien, 51, has a collegiate basketball career coaching record of 313-117, has won six national coach of the year honors and is one of only 11 people to have three national titles either at the junior college or the NCAA level.

"I believe that Coach O'Brien brings a wealth of college coaching success with him to Idaho State University," Idaho State athletic director Paul Bubb said in announcing the hiring of the former Southeastern Iowa coach.

"While the winning record, national championships and personal coaching honors are all part of Coach O'Brien's success, his demonstrated ability to recruit successful student-athletes completes the package," Bubb said.

O'Brien was 213-64 in eight seasons at Southeastern Iowa and 100-53 in five seasons at Lincoln College in Illinois. He last coached as an assistant at Florida International in the 2004-05 season.

O'Brien replaces Doug Oliver, who announced in January he would resign at the end of the season after eight years in Pocatello. The Bengals finished the season 13-14 overall, 4-10 in the Big Sky Conference.

O'Brien and his wife, Amy, have three children. He becomes the 20th basketball coach at Idaho State.