Bill O’Brien toured much of the Mid-Atlantic last spring as Penn State’s most visible ambassador. And more people came to see him near Scranton than any other stop on the tour.
So when Penn State announced that the coach would again be leading the Coaches Caravan event this spring, it was little surprise that Scranton was still on a scaled-back schedule.
O’Brien will make his return to northeastern Pennsylvania on May 8 for a dinner event with the Greater Scranton chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association. The time and venue have yet to be announced.
“We had a great turnout of Penn State alumni and fans during the Coaches Caravan last year and I enjoyed meeting so many people who have great pride and passion for Penn State,” O’Brien said in a school release.
“It’s important for me to get around Pennsylvania and other areas where we have a lot of alumni and give them a chance to get to know me and to hear from them. They need to hear about my philosophy and vision for the future and how we are moving forward.”
On Tuesday, Penn State released a 12-city itinerary over a two-week span for this year’s caravan, down from 18 cities in three weeks during last year’s inaugural event.
That first caravan included a stop as the guest speaker at the Greater Scranton chapter’s annual “Penn State Night,” which drew nearly 1,000 people at Genetti Manor in Dickson City.
O’Brien appeared for an autograph session and then spoke in front of an overflowing ballroom for a dinner presentation.
“Who would not be inspired by this crowd?” O’Brien said to the audience last May. “I’ve got chills going up my spine.”
The second-year Nittany Lions coach had hinted this past season that he would go back on the bus tour — joined again by fellow Penn State coaches from other sports — but that it wouldn’t be quite as exhausting of a schedule.
This year O’Brien will start in Reading and Philadelphia on April 30, then hit Baltimore and Washington D.C. (May 1) before heading on to Lancaster and Harrisburg (May 2).
The following week he will travel to Williamsport and Allentown (May 7), New York and Scranton (May 8) before wrapping things up in DuBois and Pittsburgh (May 9).
O’Brien will not make a stop in Luzerne County this time around.
He appeared at a lunch event on the campus of Penn State Hazleton last spring.