Munchak, Clements among committee's top picks

Penn State coaching search

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DALLAS -- Fifty days after Penn State fired Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno, the school finally may be getting close to naming his successor.

Sources told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Tuesday night that first-year Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak is the top pick of the search committee.

Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, a native of McKees Rocks, appears to be the second choice in case Munchak opts to remain in the NFL.

Munchak, 51, is a former Nittany Lions offensive lineman and Pro Football Hall of Famer who has spent his entire professional career, as a player and coach, with the Titans/Houston Oilers franchise after leaving Penn State after the 1981 season.

Former All-American tailback Curt Warner believes Munchak would be a good choice to lead Penn State's program, which still is reeling from the Nov. 9 firing of Paterno in wake of the child sexual abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

"Mike would be a great fit," Warner said Tuesday night from his home in Vancouver, Wash. "He's a Penn State guy. I don't think any of his old teammates would be upset about him getting the job at all. He has my support. I'd love to see him get it."

Warner, a former Pro Bowl performer with the Seattle Seahawks, said it doesn't bother him that Munchak, a native of Scranton, has no college coaching experience.

"He has done a wonderful job with everything he's done in football," Warner said.

"And I would expect that to continue if he gets the [Penn State] job."

Penn State officials have been aggressively pursuing Munchak, whose Titans (8-7) have flickering playoff hopes. The Titans face the AFC South Division champion Houston Texans (10-5) Sunday on the road.

Clements, 58, was interviewed twice in the past two weeks, first via conference call and then via Skype. He is a 1971 graduate of Bishop Canevin High School.

He quarterbacked Notre Dame to the national championship in 1973 and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting as a senior in 1974, when he was an All-American. He was 29-5 as a starter for the Fighting Irish and graduated magna cum laude from Notre Dame's law school in 1986.

Clements played 12 years in the Canadian Football League, throwing for almost 40,000 yards, and practiced law for five years before beginning his coaching career at Notre Dame in 1992.

Clements was in the mix for Notre Dame head coaching job that went to Charlie Weis in 2005.

Before joining the Packers staff in 2006, Clements spent 10 seasons coaching quarterbacks under coaches such as Bill Cowher, Mike Ditka and Lou Holtz. Clements worked as a Steelers quarterback coach from 2001-03.


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