With a report surfacing earlier Saturday that Mike Munchak may be privately vacillating on his very public denial of interest in the Penn State vacancy, the school is moving forward with a followup round of interviews with a couple of interviewees.
And, somewhat surprisingly, one of those two is very, very familiar to both the university and its fan base.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, interim Nittany Lions head coach Tom Bradley and Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements will be interviewed a second time, perhaps as early as next Tuesday. The paper notes that each of those two candidates has been vetted by the university’s search committee, which is code for “no Jerry Sandusky skeletons to see here”.
The inclusion of Bradley as what appears to be a viable candidate to replace Joe Paterno is somewhat surprising, due mainly to the fact that it was thought the football program would clean house in an effort to distance itself from the stain of the Sandusky child-sex scandal. Bradley has been an assistant at Penn State since 1979, and was on the staff when the first allegations against Sandusky came to university official’s attention in the late 90s.
Clements, a western Pennsylvania native, has made it publicly clear that he wants the job.
In addition to Bradley and Clements, the Tribune-Review writes that “Penn State officials also hope to speak with at least one top assistant from a team playing in a BCS bowl game, though the assistant’s identity and team was not known by the sources.”
It would be safe to assume that “top assistant” means an offensive or defensive coordinator, or someone with an “associate” or “assistant” tag connected to his job title. It would also be safe to assume we know the identity of the 10 teams participating in BcS bowls this season. So, as a public service, we’ll list the coordinators on each side of the ball for every team playing in a BcS bowl, and then allow you to jump to your own conclusions.
Enjoy, but please, speculate responsibly. And, if you can’t, please find a designated speculator:
Offensive coordinator: Mark Helfrich — has never coached east of Colorado.
Defensive coordinator: Nick Aliotti — more entrenched in the West than Helfrich.
Offensive coordinator: Paul Chryst — has been named as Pittsburgh’s new head coach.
Co-defensive coordinator: Chris Ash — an Iowa native, Ash’s coaching stops have included San Diego State and Iowa State.
Co-defensive coordinator: Charlie Partridge — prior to joining Bret Bielema‘s staff in 2008, he spent five years as an assistant at Pitt.
Offensive coordinator: Todd Monken — has coached at Notre Dame (grad assistant) and Eastern Michigan. The Illinois native was a candidate for the Southern Miss and Tulane jobs earlier this year.
Defensive coordinator: Bill Young — he’s in his mid-60s; he’s likely not a viable candidate.
Associate head coach: Joe DeForest — Florida native who’s spent time on staffs at Duke and Rice in addition to OSU.
Offensive coordinator: Pep Hamilton — an NFL assistant from 2000-09, Hamilton has spent the past two seasons with the Cardinal.
Co-defensive coordinator: Derek Mason — the Arizona native has spent his time in the western portion of the country since becoming an assistant in 1994.
Co-defensive coordinator: Jason Tarver — has been strictly a West Coast assistant since becoming a coach in 1996
Offensive coordinator: Al Borges –56-year old who has, outside of a two-year stint at Indiana a decade ago, spent his coaching time around the West Coast prior to coming to Ann Arbor.
Defensive coordinator: Greg Mattison — despite his astonishing success in his first year with the Wolverines, see Bill Young above.
Offensive coordinator: Bryan Stinespring — after a four-year stint at the high school level, the Virginia native has been a Hokies assistant since 1990.
Defensive coordinator: Bud Foster — an assistant at Tech since 1987, Foster tops the list of coaches when you call the “why the hell hasn’t he ever been a head coach?” roll.
Offensive coordinator: Chad Morris — will be the highest-paid assistant coach in college football in 2012. Has spent most of his coaching career at the high school level in Texas, but was a high-priority target of Urban Meyer as his first OC at Ohio State.
Defensive coordinator: Kevin Steele — head coach at Baylor from 1999-2002, and served on Nick Saban‘s Alabama staffs in 2007 and 2008.
Offensive coordinator: head coach Dana Holgorsen serves as his own coordinator.
Defensive coordinator: Jeff Casteel — has been at WVU since 2001, and is one of the most underrated assistants in the country. Graduated from a college in Pennsylvania.
Offensive coordinator: Jim McElwain — has been named as Colorado State’s new head coach.
Defensive coordinator: Kirby Smart — has been a strictly Southern coach since finishing his playing career at Georgia in 1998.
Offensive coordinator: Greg Studrawa — for most of his 23-year coaching career, the Ohio native has been a head coach in the Midwest. Like Clemson’s Morris, was rumored to be a candidate for the OC job at Ohio State under Urban Meyer.
Defensive coordinator: John Chavis — after playing his college ball at Tennessee, Chavis has spent his entire 33-year coaching career in SEC country.
My best guess as to the top assistant on a BcS bowl team that may have piqued PSU’s interest? “Foster, Pennsylvanian for Coach”.
Also, any coach with a connection to Saban — Steele, Smart — should be kept in mind; the Tide head coach is highly respected by a key member of the PSU search committee, and will go to great lengths to espouse the virtues of assistants who have worked under him in the past/present.