Scott O'Brien was hired as the Patriots' special teams coach on Feb. 3, 2009. He will enter his 19th NFL season in 2009, and spent the last two seasons as the Denver Broncos' special teams coordinator. He served as the special teams coach on Head Coach Bill Belichick's staff with the Cleveland Browns from 1991-95. O'Brien was named the NFL Special Teams Coach of the Year by his peers in 1994.
O'Brien has previously served as special teams coach for four NFL teams - Cleveland (1991-95), Baltimore (1996-98), Carolina (1999-2004) and Denver (2007-08). Additionally, he took on added responsibilities as Carolina's assistant head coach for his six-year tenure with the Panthers and also spent two seasons (2005-06) with the Miami Dolphins as coordinator of football operations/assistant to the head coach on Nick Saban's staff.
In 16 seasons as an NFL special teams coach, O'Brien's units have produced 29 special teams touchdowns - including 17 punt returns for touchdowns, nine kickoff returns for touchdowns, one fake field goal for a touchdown, one blocked punt for a touchdown and one blocked field goal for a touchdown. He has helped six different special teams players earn a total of 10 Pro Bowl berths and has coached players to the Pro Bowl in eight different seasons.
O'Brien spent the last two seasons as the Denver Broncos' special teams coach. During his tenure in Denver, the Broncos converted four walk-off game-winning field goals and had three different players earn AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
Over six seasons from 1999-2004, O'Brien served as the Carolina Panthers' assistant head coach/special teams, presiding over a unit that produced 11 special teams touchdowns during that period while allowing the lowest opponent kickoff return average (19.8) over that span. During O'Brien's tenure in Carolina, the Panthers had a league-high six kickoffs returned for touchdowns and were one of only two NFL teams to not allow a kickoff return for a touchdown over that span.
O'Brien began his NFL coaching career when Belichick hired him to coach the Cleveland Browns' special teams in 1991. During O'Brien's five seasons with the Browns (1991- 95), Cleveland tied for the NFL lead with eight special teams touchdowns while also becoming the only NFL team to not allow a special teams score over that span. Under O'Brien's tutelage, Cleveland punt returner Eric Metcalf earned Pro Bowl honors in 1993 and 1994 while leading the NFL with four punt returns for touchdowns over those two seasons.
When the Browns franchise moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens in 1996, O'Brien remained with the club and served for three more seasons (1996-98) as special teams coach. Baltimore had six special teams touchdowns in those three seasons, including four on punt returns.
O'Brien coached for 11 seasons in the college ranks before entering the NFL. He got his start in coaching at his alma mater, working as an assistant coach at Wisconsin- Superior from 1980-82. He went on to coach linebackers and special teams at UNLV (1983-85) and Rice (1986), and also served a four-year stint (1987-90) as the special teams coach at the University of Pittsburgh before entering the NFL in 1991.
O'Brien played linebacker at Wisconsin-Superior and following his collegiate career he was signed to contracts by the Green Bay Packers and the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.
O'Brien was born on June 25, 1957 in Superior, Wisc. He is married to the former Shawn Kinney, who earned her doctorate degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.