Former Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien was named the head coach at Division III Emerson College on Tuesday, marking his return to college basketball after being fired in 2004 for acknowledging he had given $6,000 to a recruit.
Due to NCAA violations, O'Brien was issued a show-cause penalty that was later reduced to two years. Ohio State vacated its 1999 Final Four appearance and was placed on probation while O'Brien was awarded more than $2 million in salary from the school in a wrongful termination lawsuit.
O'Brien, who played and coached at Boston College, returns to the city to resume his career with a team that plays in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.
"I am excited to be the next men's basketball coach at Emerson College," O'Brien said in a statement. "During the past few years, I have become familiar with Emerson while watching other friends coach in the GNAC. Emerson is a great school and seems like a great fit for me at this time in my life. It affords my wife and I an opportunity to continue to live in Boston, a city that we love, while allowing me to focus on what I enjoy most: being in a gym and coaching a team."
O'Brien spent time in the past year mentoring basketball coaches in Boston's public schools, according to Emerson.
"We are extremely excited to have attracted someone with Jim's talent and experience to Emerson," athletic director Kristin Parnell said in a statement.
Diamond Leung covers college basketball for ESPN.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.