Penn State made it official Friday, hiring New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien as coach.
But the end of the school's eight-week search for Joe Paterno's replacement was just the beginning of a firestorm for a beleaguered program.
The announcement caps a turbulent two-month period that began with the firing of the Hall of Fame coach on Nov. 9 in the aftermath of child sex abuse charges against retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
O'Brien, 42, was set to be formally announced today.
"I am thrilled to be the head coach of the Penn State football program," O'Brien said in a statement. "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."
Paterno, 85, who is battling cancer, said in a statement: "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."
That wasn't enough of a connection for many prominent alumni and former players.
"Alums I will always love you and the Penn State I knew," said a post on LaVar Arrington's Twitter page. "But until there's a new board and new leadership they can have their corrupt/disgusting school that they've created."
Arrington, a former All-America linebacker at PSU, and former Nittany Lions linebacker Brandon Short organized a petition in support of interim coach Tom Bradley's candidacy.
"It would have been nice if we felt like we were part of the process," said D.J. Dozier, a running back on Penn State's 1986 national title team. "Today I have more questions than answers."
O'Brien will remain with the Patriots through the postseason.
Arkansas takes Cotton
ARLINGTON, Texas — Joe Adams had his fourth punt return for a touchdown this season and Tyler Wilson threw two touchdowns to help No. 7 Arkansas defeat No. 11 Kansas State 29-16 in the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium.
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein tied the Big 12 record with his 27th rushing touchdown this season and matched the Division I-A record in a season for quarterbacks, set by Ricky Dobbs of Navy in 2009.
Adams' 51-yard return in the opening minute of the second quarter gave the Razorbacks a 10-0 lead before they even gained a first down.
UF pursues Boise St. offensive coordinator
GAINESVILLE — Florida coach Will Muschamp spent several years working for Alabama coach Nick Saban. Now the two are apparently chasing the same offensive coordinator. Boise State's Brent Pease, 47, interviewed Friday for the Gators' job left vacant by the departure of Charlie Weis. But Pease, who has been at Boise State for six years, also reportedly plans to interview next week with Saban for the vacant position at Alabama. He would replace Jim McElwain, who will leave after Monday's BCS title game to take over as coach at Colorado State.
Starters return for FSU
TALLAHASSEE — FSU received good news as a pair of starters, defensive end Brandon Jenkins and defensive back Greg Reid, decided to return for their senior seasons. In other news, freshman linebacker Arrington Jenkins and junior cornerback Avis Commack, who were arrested on felony theft charges last month, have decided to transfer. Commack has graduated and is headed to Akron, where he can play immediately for new coach Terry Bowden. Jenkins is headed to a junior college.
LEAVING FOR DRAFT: Oregon running back LaMichael James said he is skipping his senior year and declaring for the draft. Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, who led the nation in tackles in 2011, made the same decision. They were the most prominent to announce entry into the draft. Others were Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler, Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen, Michigan State running back Edwin Baker, Virginia Tech running back David Wilson and Wisconsin center Peter Konz. Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert said he's staying.
Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.