Dienhart: Penn State coaching search continues

Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner recently spoke about the search for Joe Paterno’s replacement. Joyner, the chairman of the search committee, offered no concrete details, mentioning no names in a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Joyner did acknowledge talking to some high quality candidates, but Joyner offered no timetable as to when a coach would be named.

There is a bit of a sense of urgency, as national signing day for recruits is February 1. There are two contact periods permitted between recruits and schools between now and signing day: Jan. 4 and 7; Jan. 13-28. According to the Penn State’s Scout site, the Nittany Lions have 14 verbal commitments.

“I think it’s more important when we get to the last period,” Joyner told the Inquirer. “I’m not saying it won’t happen before then. But I think the most important thing is to give them those last three weeks.”

Many names have been mentioned as possible candidates, including Boise State’s Chris Petersen; Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak; Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen; Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements; Duke’s David Cutcliffe; Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe; Louisville’s Charlie Strong, among others. The latest name to emerge is former New York Jets coach Eric Mangini. Some of the aforementioned have publicly stated they aren’t interested.

As a point of reference, Michigan didn’t hire Brady Hoke until Jan. 11 last year, and that has worked out pretty well so far with Hoke guiding the Wolverines to 10 wins and a spot in the Sugar Bowl.

This hire for Penn State can’t be all about Xs and Os. The next coach also needs to be a strong leader with impeccable character that is beyond reproach. The job will be about healing, building trust and perhaps using the position as a platform to highlight issues impacting child abuse in addition to maintaining a winning tradition.

Tom Dienhart is a senior writer for BTN.com. Find all of his work at www.btn.com/tomdienhart, follow Dienhart on Twitter at @BTNTomDienhart, send a question to his weekly mailbag here, and click here to subscribe to his RSS feed.

2 Comments

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aroznowski on 12/30/2011 @ 3:02pm EST Said:

Keep Tom Bradley!

Tom A. on 12/30/2011 @ 6:48pm EST Said:

@aroz: I wish!

The interview had to have been a courtesy, nothing more. Between the perceptions of recruits and their parents, perceptions of boosters ($$$), perception of the NCAA and of the B1G, perceptions of fans, future students and the general public, there is no respectable way to keep anyone. Deserving has nothing to do with it. The culture of protecting, covering and maintaining the status quo must end in every form. They just have to go.

I would consider it a growth opportunity, for the good coaches like Bradley, Johnson and Vanderlinden, to make their names elsewhere and succeed with the opportunity to come back if the next coach (or two) doesn’t work out.