Penn State's Joyner still searching for coach
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DALLAS -- Penn State acting athletic director Dave Joyner said Thursday night he's confident the school will be able to attract a quality coaching candidate.
It has been 52 days since Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno was fired amid a child sexual abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
"The search is going fine, in all honesty," said Joyner, who talked to reporters about the coach search for the first time since Nov. 19. "You read the blogs and everything, and I find it interesting, but it's going fine. We're right where I thought we'd be at this point.
"You know me, I don't give up too much. I just believe in keeping it quiet for the coaches that are interviewing and talking to us, out of respect for them."
Sources Tuesday night told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that first-year Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak was the top pick of the six-person search committee, which is led by Joyner.
But Munchak, a former Penn State player, said Wednesday he was not interested in becoming the next head coach at his alma mater. Penn State officials also pursued Boise State's Chris Petersen. Like Munchak, Petersen told them he was not interested in the job.
Others known to have interviewed for the vacancy include Nebraska's Bo Pelini; Baylor associate head coach Brian Norwood, a former Penn State assistant; and Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, a native of McKees Rocks.
Wake Forest's Jim Grobe and Duke's David Cutcliffe also have been linked to the job.
Four current Penn State coaches have been interviewed: interim head coach Tom Bradley, quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno, defensive line coach Larry Johnson and linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden.
"I'd like to get this finished so whoever the head coach is will have time to really interact with the recruits," Joyner said at a media event for the TicketCity Bowl.
National signing day for high school recruits is Feb. 1.
He did not give a specific timetable for reaching a decision and would not talk about how many candidates have been interviewed.
"We have a handful of people that we think are worthy. I still have people contacting me even now, which is interesting, even after this length of time."
An agent who represents a number of major college coaches recently told the Post-Gazette that the Penn State coaching vacancy is a "toxic situation."
But Joyner still believes the school can hit a home run with its hire.
"We're looking at people in a systematic way," he said. "We're looking for a person with the very important qualities that this program has been known for for many, many years."
First Published December 30, 2011 12:00 am