And so, the search begins…

by Ben Goldfarb on January 2, 2014

in Penn State Football

Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner announced that the search for a new coach will be “days, not weeks” at this morning’s press conference.

The search committee will consist of:

Dr. Dave Joyner, Athletic Director (Chair)
Dr. Tom Poole, VP Administration
Charmelle Green, Associate Athletic Director, Senior Woman Administrator (LOL)
Dr. Linda Caldwell, Faculty Athletics Representative, Distinguished Professor
Bob Warming, Head Coach, Men’s Soccer
Wally Richardson, Director, Penn State Football Letterman’s Club (good ol’ #14)

No boosters, fans, or Paternoists on the committee, unless you count Wally in that last category.

Larry Johnson has been appointed as Interim Head Coach, which is crucial to a smooth transition. Joyner referred to LJ as the “glue” that will hold the program together while the search takes place.

“We’re very fortunate to have a guy like Larry Johnson to serve as the glue right now,” said Joyner.

As for Johnson himself, apparently he has not (yet) thrown his hat into the ring with respect to the permanent job. However, Joyner says that if he did so, he would be given due consideration.

The three characteristics Joyner seeks in the next head coach are in the areas of integrity, academics, and championships. PSU ties are not required.

Names of other individuals under consideration by the search committee will be kept confidential.

Presumably as an offshoot of the notorious David Jones interview, Joyner was asked if the political climate at Penn State contributed to O’Brien’s decision to leave.

“I don’t really think that at all,” posited Joyner. “Obviously, the environment is whatever it is.” (Ahhhhh, the old sports stonewall: it is what it is.)

Joyner said that O’Brien’s intent when hired was to stay at Penn State for the long haul, but the Houston offer was something he could just not pass up. According to Dr. Dave, BoB’s contract buyout amounted to $6.5 to $6.7 million.

Wrapping up the presser, Joyner answered a question about Christian Hackenberg’s future.

“Christian Hackenberg is a tremendous asset at Penn State,” Joyner said. “Our job is to get the best football coach possible and lead them forward. We pledge to do that in a contracted time frame, with great thought and analysis.”

So, now we’re off to the races. The speculation circus begins, but I’m still taking the field. Looking at the “common wisdom” candidates, I feel there are good reasons that each of them won’t be the next head coach, although a blown ass-umption by this turkey is par for the course. I’ll stand by the odds I presented before the O’Brien departure became official.

I look at the short time frame Joyner has committed for the search committee’s ultimate choice with mixed feelings. I’m well aware that Penn State needs someone to be CEO of the football program right now; however, a quick and dirty search is fraught with peril. Will there be time for due diligence on each candidate? Will there be time to romance a candidate who is presently employed? Will the need for speed mean that Penn State does not hire the best man for the job? Haste makes waste.

(But a stitch in time saves nine. Please forgive my supercilious digression into old saws.)

As for O’Brien, I don’t expect him to go public with his reasons for leaving Penn State, other than to take a better job. He didn’t break his contract, he bought out of it. Those of you who think he had a moral commitment, well, go stew in your own juices. It ain’t gonna change anything. The past is the past (and that goes for you Paternoists, too), and we have business ahead of us. O’Brien owes us nothing he hasn’t paid with that check for $6.7 million.

The football program at Penn State has undergone a significant paradigm shift since the Paterno years, which is painful for some. O’Brien served as the catalyst and facilitator for that change, which was inevitable. Let us now look to the future without blinders on. The Penn State progress clock stopped circa 1979, flying a holding pattern under Paternolistic stewardship while, abetted by megabuck television contracts, the rest of college football predictably transmuted itself  into a big money business. We considered ourselves above the fray, lofting ourselves onto a pedestal of goodness and traditional values. We were better than the riff-raff who cared only about the money game that college football has become. That is no longer the case, but some of us cannot or will not acknowledge that. We have to sink or swim in that stormy sea now. Those of us who cling to the past and dream that we can return to those good old sweet Happy Valley days will retard the process of moving forward in the new era of college football. Success with honor is still our credo, even though we’ll never ever return to warm, fuzzy feelings of the house that Joe built.

The new coach will be once removed from the scandalous days of yore, which is another reason not to dredge up the past. O’Brien and some plucky seniors held the program together through some horrible times. Now, we hope to gain some stability and make progress toward the goal of having a competitive presence in college football in the not too distant future.


Joe January 2, 2014 at 12:51 pm

So Joyner said all the right things and didn’t hammer “I can’t take it anymore BOB”. I think they’ll end up with someone who will fit the next 5-7 years, keep Hack’s old man happy, get most if not all of the recruits to stay committed and have someone within 7-10 days.

I’m not a detractor or avid supporter of Joyner, but I think he’s done a decent job to date and glad he had the coconuts to tell Obie, this is our final offer-take it or leave it.

So we’ll see. I heard Mack Brown’s name kicked around today. Not sure if he would leave Texas, but it’s an intriguing possibility for the next 4-5 years.

I’m more curious about what happens to the current staff. Does Vandy come back? Fitz stay? Butler gone (I hope so)?

The Nittany Turkey January 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Haste makes waste. I’m somewhat concerned about the short time frame, although I recognize its necessity. (I edited the original post above to add a paragraph about that, so I’ll lazily avoid repeating myself here.)

Mack Brown is sure as hell interesting, but I head Mack respond to a reporter after the loss to the Ducks that he would be going away, and that he would not even be wanting to think about football for a long while. So, if someone started a rumor about Mack, it probably didn’t come from his camp.

(If it came from BSD, I’m getting more and more pissed off with the crap they are writing there. In the couple of years since Mike P. left, the quality has gone completely down the toilet. If the writing is bad, then the comments are worse. That’s an advantage we have here — great writing and brilliant comments.)

**Wipes Boston cream pie off face.**

Joyner has a job to do and he’s doing it. I know there’s a lot of polarization out there, and if you dig down beneath the surface, it turns out to have nothing to do with Joyner’s job performance. It always boils down to be a grudge about Paterno’s firing, which sure as hell wasn’t Joyner’s fault. So, those who piss and moan about Joyner get no truck with me.

Back to the search, Joyner implied that they were looking for a career college coach who would be in it for the long haul. Of course, two years ago, they thought O’Brien was that.

I’m thinking that Fitz will go with O’Brien. McWhorter will retire (unless Mack Brown comes to town). No thoughts on the rest of the gang, but a new coach will surely want to assemble a team of his own, so it won’t matter which of them go with O’Brien. All of them besides LJ (and maybe LJ, too) are destined to be replaced.

Vanderlinden is an enigma to me. Not knowing the conditions of his departure, I can’t make a conjecture about his willingness to return or the administrations willingness to rehire him. Hell, he could wind up being the next head coach, for all I know.


Joe January 2, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Not sure about Fitz-his antics/motivational techniques don’t seem like they would play well with NFL players. I don’t think these guys have mandatory group winter conditioning programs at 5:30AM (most train at home with a personal trainer). So depending on who comes in, he may stay or some other college could grab him. Butler’s departure may weigh on his staying or going.

I think Mac stays another year.

LJ will have a spot although I read somewhere that Franklin has a pretty good DL coach so maybe that puts LJ in a DC position. I believe he was offered the position at Michigan or Michigan State many years ago and Paterno told him he didn’t have to be a DC to land an HC job, so he stayed. The guy is a genius recruiter.

I don’t know if Strollo, London or Midget go with OB-I’m thinking not, so their job will really be dependent on who the new HC wants. Personally I’m meh about all of them.

Butler can’t leave soon enough for me.

To me the OC/QB and WR coach is the key to keeping Hack and O’Connor and the 2014 WR recruits on the farm. Need to be a pro-style guys, none of this spread bullshit!

And I’d make Vandy’s re-instatement a requirement of the new HC! I saw today that he was let go before the Wisconsin game, but agreed to coach anyway. The primary reason I keep seeing is that he didn’t see “eye to eye” with Butler and he didn’t have the fire in his belly that Butler wanted. Fuck him and his shit brained sideline antics! The guy was clueless as a DC.

Yeah BSD has turned into shit and the comments are pure pap.

The Nittany Turkey January 2, 2014 at 5:49 pm

No return to the Spread HD? Damn!


K. John January 2, 2014 at 6:26 pm

From what I understand, they have two tiers of candidates, those they know are interested, and those they know will take the job if offered.

The Nittany Turkey January 2, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Makes sense. A wish list and a reality list. If the wish list falls through, hire Schiano.


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