29 December 2011

Who Will Be the Next Head Coach at Penn State?

There is only one FBS head coaching vacancy that has not been filled on the coaching carousel and it happens to be the one that opened in possibly the ugliest way, the dismissal of the legendary Joe Paterno as a result of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. It is a job filled with loads of traditions but with one very large black eye that has turned candidates off. So who will be the next coach in State College?
Maybe I should have titled this post 'Does Anybody Want the Penn State Job?' Because it seems that nobody, or at least those who have been connected to the job, has come out saying they would take the job. Dan Mullen, head coach at Mississippi State, was said to be a top candidate earlier this month but nothing has come about and it appears that the school has moved on. Boise State head coach Chris Peterson was floated as a potential hire but there has been no actual reason as to why Peterson would leave Boise and finally announced before Christmas he had no interest. The most recent 'flavor of the week,' taking a cue from Governor Sarah Palin, was Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak, a member of the Penn State class of '81. The only problem is that Munchak has been a member of the Oilers/Titans organization since being draft with the eighth overall pick in 1982, that'd be thirty years, and now is the head coach of that organization. Even as he says that he "loves [his] alma mater," he also mentions that he has "no interest in being the next coach at Penn State," and that he never wants to leave Tennessee. He also said he hasn't communicated with anybody from the school. And any comparisons to Nick Saban leaving the Dolphins for Alabama are misguided because Saban was coming off a disappointing season in Miami, he didn't have the ties to Miami that Munchak has to Tennessee and Alabama will always be a better job than Penn State, not to mention the fact that the Crimson Tide were not dealing with a big sexual abuse scandal and cover-up.
So where does that leave us now? Harvard coach Tim Murphy has been mentioned as a top candidate and has been extremely successful at Harvard while maintaining a clean track record but wouldn't be a great sell for a fanbase that thinks they deserve a big-name. I know a couple guys that go to PSU and they don't consider Murphy to be 'qualified,' mostly saying "We want a big name." Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe has been rumored of late and has done a really good job at what is not an easy job to win at, even winning an ACC title in 2006, and he has also coached in the Midwest but he also isn't that much of a big name. Note that the coach before Grobe, current Colts clueless idiot head coach Jim Caldwell, went 29-63. I just love noting that.
Interim head coach Tom Bradley is considered a candidate but it remains to be seen how interested a school looking now to move forward from the black cloud that is the Sandusky scandal would be in a longtime lieutenant to Sandusky and Paterno.
But there is actually one guy that has been adamant in his desire for the job is Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements. Clements, a native of western Pennsylvania, has a long track record of developing quarterbacks, turning Elvis Grbac, Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox into Pro Bowlers, not joking, a tremendous final year in Green Bay for Brett Favre as well as developing Aaron Rodgers into the machine he is today. But Clements has never been a head coach and only two seasons as a coordinator, two mediocre seasons in Buffalo, and hasn't coached in college since serving on Lou Holtz's staff at his alma mater, Notre Dame, in 1995.
So the question over who Paterno's successor remains and I'm sure more turns are on the horizon.

1 comment:

  1. If PSU select Tom Clements, they won't regret it. He is very smart, has a wealth of football knowledge, will recruit well, is hung ho on education, and is a winner.