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.