HAPPY VALLEY, Penn. (CBSMiami) – Penn State University is searching for a new head coach after Bill O’Brien was named the new head coach of the Houston Texans late Tuesday night. The move by O’Brien could open the door for University of Miami head coach Al Golden to head to Happy Valley.
The Nittany Lions program is in a much better position than it was a few years ago. The crippling sanctions being handed down by the NCAA are being eased, making it easier to continue rebuilding the program.
Golden has pulled Miami through a massive NCAA investigation and posted a 22-15 record in three seasons in South Florida. He played and coached at Penn State for Joe Paterno and was a winner at Temple in Pennsylvania.
Before he was brought to South Florida, Golden was long considered to be the eventual successor to Paterno at Penn State.
Still, Golden has laid down big roots in South Florida and is putting the Hurricane program back on the national map. His team jumped out to a 7-0 record this season before crashing towards the end of the year, including a blowout loss to the Louisville Cardinals.
Golden also has a top five recruiting class coming in, according to Rivals.com. He’s also signed through the 2019 season, so getting him out of Miami would likely require a large buyout.
Here are some other coaches that could be in play for the now vacant Penn State job:
- James Franklin, Vanderbilt. The eastern Pennsylvania native played at Division II East Stroudsburg and began his coaching career at Kutztown. His time as an assistant at Maryland overlapped with O’Brien in 2003-04. He has gone 23-15 at Vanderbilt, taking the perennial SEC doormat to three straight bowl games. He signed a long-term extension after last season.
- Mike Munchak, Tennessee Titans. The 53-year-old former Penn State offensive lineman played for Paterno in the late 1970s and early ’80s. He is 22-26 after three seasons with Tennessee, and might not be back for next season. He was a candidate for the Penn State job the last time it was open.
- Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State defensive coordinator. Has been a key cog in Mark Dantonio’s staff as Michigan State has become a perennial Big Ten contender. The 47-year-old Connecticut native was a candidate for the UConn job and it seems only a matter time before he is running his own program.
- Greg Roman, offensive coordinator, San Francisco 49ers. Roman is one of the most highly regarded offensive coaches and was a candidate for the Penn State job when O’Brien got it. He’s mostly been in the NFL, though he spent two years at Stanford working under Jim Harbaugh before moving to the 49ers with the head coach.
- Greg Schiano, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Another former Penn State assistant coach under Paterno and the former head coach at Rutgers. He was fired by Tampa Bay after going 11-21 in two seasons, but helped build the Rutgers program. Still, he’s only a .500 head coach in college football and his dictatorial style may be too much for the Nittany Lions.
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