Big shoes to fill, vile mess to tiptoe through
Finding a replacement for the winningest coach in NCAA Division I football will not be easy.
Aside from repairing its image from the child sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the football program, Penn State officials must search for a coach to replace Joe Paterno.
Whoever it is, winning games might be easier than dealing with the scandal's fallout.
"This is a stain that will not be washed away soon," said Dennis Dodd, a college football analyst for CBSSports.com. "They are going to have to get somebody who is squeaky clean."
The job could still be attractive to the right person who is willing to gamble that recruits will forget the transgressions of the past staff and feel that Penn State is still a place that can produce quality teams and players.
Here are some candidates who may be considered:
Urban Meyer, 47
Job: ESPN analyst
Resume: Rumored to be near the top of Penn State's list of successors. He has denied speaking to anyone at the university about the football job. Even if he did, those people probably will be gone by the time the school gets around to hiring someone. Meyer led the University of Florida to two national championships before retiring after the 2010 season. His final game as Gators coach was a 37-24 victory against Penn State in the Outback Bowl.
Pat Fitzgerald, 36
Job: Northwestern head coach
Resume: Fitzgerald's profile could be what Penn State is seeking. Fitzgerald serves on the American Football Coaches Association Ethics Committee. He was one of the best linebackers in college football of his era. In six seasons as Wildcats coach, Fitzgerald has a 38-34 record, with bowl berths in each of the past three seasons.
Al Golden, 42
Job: Miami (Fla.) head coach
Resume: A former Penn State team captain and tight end from 1987-91, Golden was Paterno's linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator in 2000 before going to the University of Virginia as defensive coordinator. He is in his first year at Miami after resurrecting a Temple program many considered dead. He finished 27-33 in five seasons with the Owls. He could be interested, as the Hurricanes face NCAA sanctions.
Greg Schiano, 45
Job: Rutgers head coach
Resume: The longest-tenured coach in the Big East Conference, Schiano rebuilt Rutgers' program, winning 11 games in 2006 for the first time in 30 years. In 11 seasons at Rutgers, Schiano has a losing record (65-66) but is heralded as a strong defensive coach. He served as Paterno's secondary coach from 1990-96. He also has coached with the Chicago Bears and was Miami's defensive coordinator for two years.
Bill Cowher, 54
Job: CBS NFL analyst
Resume: If he is interested and doesn't mind the rigors of recruiting -- something he never has done -- Cowher could be a good choice. He won a Super Bowl as Steelers head coach. He has a reputation as a strong defensive coach, the ability to assemble and operate a football program and a name that would attract recruits. Penn State would have a tough sell, as NFL coaching jobs have not lured him from the set of CBS' "NFL Today."
Tom Bradley, 55
Job: Penn State interim head coach
Resume: Once considered among Paterno's possible successors, Bradley was the victim of time and Paterno's refusal to retire before yesterday. He remains one of college football's most respected defensive minds and recruiters. He has interviewed for head jobs at other institutions -- including Pitt earlier this year -- but during the past 33 years, he never has worked anywhere but Penn State. His challenge will be convincing the school to hire a current member of Paterno's staff.
Chris Petersen, 47
Job: Boise State head coach
Resume: Petersen's name pops up on most lists when college coaching jobs open. He has won 69 of 74 games since 2006 and reached the brink of the BCS Championship Game with unbeaten teams in '06 and '09. His program was cited for minor NCAA violations this year.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.