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2 W.Pa. natives interested in PSU coaching job

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By Bob Cohn and Rob Rossi
Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011
 

Penn State's search to replace former head football coach Joe Paterno has started within the staff, but the quarterbacks coach for the NFL champion Green Bay Packers has entered the mix.

Tom Clements, who has coached Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' position since 2006, has applied for the Penn State position and sent his resume to the six-member selection committee, sources told the Tribune-Review.

Interim head coach Tom Bradley will be interviewed by the committee this week, and quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno received an interview last Friday, the Trib sources said.

The sources described Jay Paterno's interview as a courtesy and said he is not considered a serious candidate to replace his father, who was fired Nov. 9 in the aftermath of a child rape investigation of former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Clements and Bradley declined comment Monday when contacted by the Trib, as did members of the football coach search committee.

Phone calls to Jay Paterno, acting Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner and interim president Rodney Erickson were not returned.

Erickson said last week that he hopes to name the Nittany Lions' next head coach by its bowl game. Penn State will face the University of Houston in the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas on Jan. 2.

Bradley, the interim coach since Paterno's dismissal, will coach Penn State in the bowl game. But his future with the program, along with that of Mike McQueary -- a key witness in the criminal case against Sandusky -- and other coaches on staff, is not secure beyond that.

Joyner chairs the committee, but Penn State has not said who will make the final call on the new head football coach. Calls to Penn State's Department of University Relations and the athletic communications department were not returned.

A McKees Rocks native, Clements, 58, starred at then Canevin Catholic (now Bishop Canevin) High School and was an All-American quarterback at Notre Dame before a long career in the Canadian Football League. He briefly played for the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL.

Clements worked as the Steelers' quarterback coach from 2001 to 2003 under then head coach Bill Cowher. He previously served as quarterbacks coach for the Chiefs (2000) and the New Orleans Saints (1997-99).

He has been with Green Bay since 2006 and helped contribute to the rise of Rodgers, a first-round pick from the University of California who is the reigning Super Bowl MVP after their victory over the Steelers in January.

Clements, who practiced and taught law for five years before entering the coaching ranks, is reportedly a contender for potential NFL head coaching openings at season's end.

He has never been a head coach, although he was considered a strong candidate for the Notre Dame head coaching job in 2004 before the job went to Charlie Weis.

Former Penn State All-American receiver Kenny Jackson endorsed Clements for the job.

"I've been fortunate to play for a lot of good coaches and work with a lot of good coaches, and I know this guy can coach," Jackson said of Clements, with whom he worked for two seasons on Cowher's staff.

"I coached receivers (with the Steelers), and he was the quarterbacks coach and he made people better," said Jackson. "You can see what he's done with Rodgers. I've watched how players respected him, watched how they interacted with Tommy, how calm and organized he was. I have the feeling he's gonna be a great head coach in the right situation."

Several former Penn State players, including LaVar Arrington, Brandon Short and Paul Posluszny, have signed an online petition endorsing Bradley for the job.

"I just feel it's gonna be very difficult for (Bradley) under these circumstances, based on a situation that's very unique," Jackson said. "I think (Clements) is a guy who can coach and can handle a very delicate situation."

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Locals interested

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Tom Clements

Born: McKees Rocks

Age: 58

High School: Canevin Catholic (now Bishop Canevin)

College: Notre Dame, 1971-1975

Notre Dame Law School, graduated 1986

Professional playing career: Canadian Football League, 1975-79; Kansas City Chiefs, 1980; Canadian Football League, 1981-87

Coaching career: Quarterbacks coach, Notre Dame, 1992-95; quarterbacks coach, New Orleans Saints, 1997-99; quarterbacks coach, Kansas City Chiefs, 2000; quarterbacks coach, Steelers, 2001-03; offensive coordinator, Buffalo Bills, 2004-05; quarterbacks coach, Green Bay Packers, 2006-present

Tom Bradley

Born: Johnstown

Age: 55

High School: Bishop McCort

College: Penn State, 1975-78

Professional playing career: None

Coaching career: Graduate assistant, Penn State, 1979; full-time assistant, Penn State, 1980-2001; defensive coordinator, Penn State, 2000-present; interim head coach since early November

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