Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, December 30, 2011

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.

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