Induction Year: 2001
Recipient of the Mertz Mortorelli Coaching Achievement Award
Scott O'Brien of Charlotte, N.C., was an accomplished football player at the University of Wisconsin-Superior who became one of the top special team coaches in the National Football League.
Although he participated in track and hockey, Mr. O'Brien was particularly known for his skill as a football player. Following college he was signed as a defensive end by the Green Bay Packers in 1979 and the Toronto Argonauts in 1980.
Mr. O'Brien graduated with a bachelor of science degree in physical education. He earned a master's degree in education in 1984 from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
Mr. O'Brien began his coaching career at UW-Superior and later coached at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Rice University and the University of Pittsburgh. He joined the Cleveland Browns professional football team in 1987 as special teams coach and quickly established himself as a coach whose players set records and made an impact in games. In 1994 he was named the NFL's Special Teams Coach of the Year. He remained with the team when it moved to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Ravens.
At the time of his induction, Mr. O'Brien was special teams coach for the NFL's Carolina Panthers, where his reputation continued to grow. Under his direction, the Panthers' special teams unit was consistently ranked among the best in the league.