Meyer: Penn State rumors false
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Urban Meyer denied a report Saturday that he has interviewed with Penn State officials and is being considered as a possible successor to Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno.
"I'm not going to say anything about it," Meyer told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette upon arriving at Beaver Stadium to work the ABC/ESPN telecast of the Penn State-Iowa game. "There's no truth to the rumor."
An Ohio State beat writer reported Friday on his blog that an unnamed source and close friend of Meyer said Penn State officials contacted Meyer Sept. 25 and "expressed major interest in pursuing him as head coach" should the 84-year-old Paterno decide to retire. Paterno's current three-year contract extension expires at the end of the season.
He said at the Big Ten meetings in late July he hopes to coach another 4-5 more years, but that was before he was injured when he was inadvertently blindsided by wide receiver Devon Smith during an August practice.
Paterno, who was bounced back and forth between the sideline and coaches booth this season, is the winningest coach in Division I history.
Meyer was in town earlier this summer to conduct an ESPN interview with Penn State outside linebacker Michael Mauti. According to the published report, Meyer met with Penn State president Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley.
Meyer, 47, resigned for health reasons last year after six seasons at Florida with a 65-15 record and two national championships. His final win was a 37-24 triumph against Paterno and Penn State in the Outback Bowl.
During a joint news conference leading up to the Outback Bowl New Year's Day, Meyer talked about applying for a job with Penn State when he was 21.
"Coach Paterno was gracious enough to send me back a letter saying that after I get a little more experience maybe come back and we'll take a look at you as a potential graduate assistant at our school," Meyer said. "I still have that letter."
Meyer also talked of his admiration for Paterno.
"I've known coach Paterno longer than he's known me," Meyer said. "I was one of those guys that knew I wanted to be a football coach, played football as long as I could and coach as long as I could."
Paterno joked about Meyer's first name.
"I've liked Urban ever since I found out his first name was Urban. I said, 'He's got to be a Catholic,'" Paterno said. "Only a Catholic would have stuck with Urban."
Meyer, a native of Ashtabula, Ohio, has been mentioned as a possible replacement for interim coach Luke Fickell at Ohio State after this season.
First Published October 9, 2011 12:00 am