With former Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien off to the Houston Texans in the NFL, the Penn State administration must now turn its attention to finding the best candidate to be the next head coach of the Nittany Lions. Several names have already been linked to the open position, but there’s been no official word from the university on potential candidates as of yet. Current Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, former Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano and current University of Miami head coach Al Golden have all been mentioned. One name that’s been overshadowed a bit is Mike Munchak.
Munchak is currently the head coach of the Tennessee Titans in the NFL, but may be on the hot seat after a few disappointing seasons. He took over the Titans in 2011 and has amassed a total record of 22-26. After a winning season of 9-7 in his first year, he followed it up with two losing seasons.
According to sources, Munchak is meeting with Tennessee officials on either late in the day on Thursday or Friday to discuss future plans.
I believe of all the names linked to Penn State so far, Munchak makes the most sense to take over. While Franklin seems to be the hottest name in coaching right now, his situation smells of one that would use Penn State as a stepping stone to the next level. That’s exactly what Penn State doesn’t need right now. Instead of someone who’ll be around for two or three years, the Nittany Lions need someone committed for the long haul.
As far as Golden, I don’t see him leaving a program that has made it through sanctions and is now on the upswing. Schiano was a favorite to take over at Penn State back when he was coaching at Rutgers, but now doesn’t bring the best reputation with him after two years in the NFL.
He’s already had a taste of coaching in the NFL and I don’t foresee him going back if he would move to the collegiate level. Aside from that, he’s got strong ties to both Pennsylvania and Penn State. Munchak was born in Scranton and was an All-American offensive lineman for the Nittany Lions in the early 1980’s.
The biggest worry right now is keeping the solid recruiting class that O’Brien built together. Munchak could definitely sell Penn State to recruits and can use his experience in the NFL to help mold players and get them ready for the next level. He’s been coaching in the NFL since 1994 and is sure to know what type of player can make it at the next level.
I see Munchak as being someone who understands how important Penn State football is to the people of Pennsylvania and the thousands of alumni around the country. I believe he would take great pride in coaching at his alma mater and would be the best candidate to lead Penn State through the rest of the sanctions set the program up for future success.
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