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For the first time in 47 years, Penn State will be looking for a new head coach.There are a lot of things to consider for any potential candidates, but we do know that the next coach can’t be a current a member of the Penn State coaching staff. And the next coach will have to be clean without an ounce of scandal attached to their name.
On the next few pages we will take a look at the names that could be the leading candidates to be the next head football coach at Penn State University…
At one point Jerry Sandusky was considered the heir-apparent to Joe Paterno in Happy Valley. And now, it is his arrest that will cost Tom Bradley or Jay Paterno their shot to take over as head coach of the Nittany Lions. Bradley, the defensive coordinator, has turned down opportunities to be a head coach at other schools choosing instead to remain at Penn State. And Paterno, the quarterbacks coach was viewed by some as the guy that would have best carried on his father's legacy.
Greg Schiano is going to be a popular name associated with the soon-to-be-vacant Penn State job. He was an assistant coach at Penn State for five years in the early '90s and won Coach of the Year in 2006 at Rutgers. On the one hand, Penn State will try to distance themselves from Paterno and the scandal. But the school may also want somebody that understands the pride of the Penn State program and who will have a strong interest in returning the program to glory.
Urban Meyer, who won two national titles with Florida will be another popular name in the coming months. And there is that rumour that Meyer recently purchased some land close to the Penn State campus. But Meyer's players at Florida were not always the most well-behaved, and the powers-that-be may not want that type of risk in their next coach.
As a former Penn State player (1987-1991), Al Golden may be the perfect candidate in terms of love for the school and program. He is in his first year as coach of Miami and was the MAC Coach of the Year in 2009 at Temple. But Miami is dealing with their own scandal right now. And even if the shenanigans occurred prior to Golden's arrival, he may still be too close to that mess to jump into the Penn State mess.
Jim Caldwell is another former Paterno assistant, which again, could be good or bad. He also played under Hayden Fry at the University of Iowa who has had a number of former players and coaches go on to run programs elsewhere. There is also Caldwell's close ties to Tony Dungy who some perceive as the cleanest person in football. And it also just happens that Caldwell may be looking for a new job after the season if the Colts look to go in another direction.
Speaking of Tony Dungy...This one is probably a long shot, but his name will undoubtedly be brought up simply because Dungy is as clean as they come. And at 56, he might be young enough to get back into coaching, but old enough that he would be viewed as a stabilizing figure in a sea of chaos.
Darren Perry is another former player that would make a good candidate if the school is willing to take somebody with ties to the program. He has never been a head coach or even a coordinator, but at 42, he is young and could be looked at as somebody that will come in and run the program for the next 20 years.
Frank Spaziani is another former Penn State player that will get plenty of mentions to be the next head coach. He has been the head coach at Boston College since 2009 and was a grad assistant at Penn State in 1969. Like Tony Dungy, Spaziani is a little older (64) and while he won't be around as long as some, he might be more respected than some of the younger candidates.
Carl Pelini is the defensive coordinator under his brother Bo at Nebraska. And if the school wants a disciplinarian to come in and make sure the program is clean, Pelini may be the way to go.
Kirk Ferentz, who has been the head coach at Iowa since 1999, played high school football in Pennsylvania and is always a popular name when jobs open up. But is there any incentive for Ferentz to leave Iowa for another Big 10 program, one in trouble? Probably not.
Bob Stoops, who has been the head coach at Oklahoma since 1999 and won a national title in 2000, is one of those coaches from the Hayden Fry coaching tree. If Penn State wants to make a big splash, Stoops might be willing to take the job for an opportunity to get back into the Big 10. But he will also be expensive.
Pat Fitzgerald is considered by many to be a young coach (36) that is ready for a big time program. He has been the head coach at Northwestern since 2006 and has taken the Wildcats to three straight bowl games despite Northwestern typically being the one of the doormats of the Big 10.
Matt Millen is a former linebacker at Penn State, a school also known as Linebacker U. It would seem highly doubtful that Penn State would want somebody without any coaching experience. But based on how Millen broke down on television talking about the Penn State scandal, his emotional ties to the program may be unmatched.
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