Dave Joyner has his man………..and it’s going to either be an epic hire, or an epic fail.
There really is no in-between at this point.
The search for Joe Paterno’s replacement seems to be over. Despite some published reports in the last few days stating otherwise, no potential head coaching candidates have interviewed within the last week, and no potential candidates are scheduled to interview for the top job anytime soon. The bottom line here is we are probably five to seven days away from a press conference in State College introducing Penn State’s new head football coach, and nobody outside of Dave Joyner and his inner circle (i.e. Ira Lubert) definitely knows who that person is.
Joyner for his part seems very confident, if not cocky, that he has landed a big fish. He brazenly has told former lettermen and alumni asking him for updates in the search to stop asking questions, butt out and trust him. Needless to say, that advice hasn’t necessarily been received well, but Joyner doesn’t seem to care at this point, and has to feel that the end result of his work will do all his talking for him.
One thing for certain at this point is the mainstream media and beat reporters have no clue what is going on. Just today, several Pennsylvania papers published stories that current Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak would be announced as Penn State’s head coach next week. That report was dismissed as being false in mere hours as Munchak gave a full denial at his weekly press conference today in Tennessee. While several coaches have denied being interested in jobs in the past only to be hired in short time, don’t expect that scenario to play out with Munchak. For starters, Munchak is an extremely honest and up front person. He has shown no desire to ever play games with the media like a Nick Saban or Bobby Petrino has in the past. Generally, his word, whether it be in public or behind closed doors, is the truth. Munchak and Penn State certainly have spoke about the job in the last month, but it’s not believed that Munchak was ever a leading candidate for the vacancy. Furhermore, while Munchak would be a good, solid hire for Penn State, he’s not the home run that Joyner and Lubert seem to be looking for.
So that brings us to the one question on everyone’s minds………..who is going to get this job?
First there is Boise State’s Chris Petersen, a coach we have talked about plenty here in the last week. Despite erroneous reports from Dave Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot News, Petersen is not talking to anybody at the moment (including some major boosters in Boise), and never has denied interest in the Penn State job. Petersen was thought to be the top target of Penn State money-man Ira Lubert, and cannot be dismissed as a candidate simply based on his silence in the last month.
Georgia coach Mark Richt is another coach that has been mentioned in the search. Richt is reportedly in negotiations with Georgia for a contract extension, but those negotiations have been going on for a month with no resolution. The bad news is, much like with Chip Kelly at Oregon, we have come across nothing that has tied Richt to Penn State or the ongoing search. Richt could also be using rumblings of his Penn State interest to finalize his new contract with Georgia.
Next up is Green Bay Packers’ quarterbacks coach Tom Clements. Clements has been another mainstream media favorite (which should tell you all you need to know) and has been tied to the job by the previously mentioned Dave Jones, Ron Musselman of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and Mike Poorman of Statecollege.com. Considering everything these three journalists have printed about this search has been completely incorrect, we wouldn’t put much stock into Clements’ candidacy. Besides, does anyone think that Dave Joyner and Ira Lubert, two ego-driven men who have never failed at anything in their entire lives, are going to settle on Tom Clements? That’s not to say Clements isn’t a good football coach, but he’s clearly not the right guy for the head job at this point. For him to be hired would mean Penn State basically struck outon every top target they had on their list. Now, if we are talking about Clements becoming the offensive coordinator, that’s a different story.
One person who we know it will not be is current Penn State interim coach Tom Bradley. Unless something drastically changes in the next few days (which it could if pride is put aside), Monday will be Bradley’s last game on the Penn State sidelines for the forseeable future if not ever. Sources close to Bradley tell us he has multiple offers from other schools, and will accept one of them after the bowl game. Bradley has told those close to him that the only coach he would be an assistant for at Penn State is Joe Paterno, and all signs are he is ready to move on to another school after Monday’s game.
Finally, we will leave you with this tidbit. Over the past few days, Laschout has been told by what we deem to be very reliable sources that the hire will be “a moonshot for the Penn State program.” When asked if it was a home run type of hire, our source told us “it’s more like a grand slam when you are down by 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th.”
Let’s all cross our fingers that is the case.