See if you can keep up with this coaching rumor
The Penn State football program currently has a head coach — a rather successful one. Thus it only makes sense that the school is not looking to hire a new coach.
But in the world of college and professional football, things rarely make sense. Just take a look at Thursday, which brought us the story of a currently employed NFL coach spending time telling everybody who would listen that he is not interested in coaching in Happy Valley — again, a job vacancy which currently does not exist.
Just another fun day on the coaching carousel.
The day began with story in The Tennessean which said Titans head coach Mike Munchak told reporters the day before his thoughts on a recent report he was interested in the Penn State job:
"I did not reach out to anybody, and nobody did on my behalf. And I don’t have an agent," Munchak, a Penn State alum, said of the report in the Patriot-News about his interest in coaching the Nittany Lions. "They have a coach there, and I have a job here. So it’s just not true. I don’t think there is any merit to any of the three of us, I’m sure."
That Patriot-News report went so far as to say that Munchak and at least three other high-profile coaches "have had their intermediaries inquire about the Penn State job, curious about the chances it might come open". The Patriot-News identified two of those other coaches as Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano.
But there’s a catch for any coach who may be interested in taking over at Penn State: Bill O’Brien already has the job. O’Brien quit his job as Patriots offensive coordinator after the 2011 season to take over at Penn State, shortly after the school fired legendary coach Joe Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal. Despite facing heavy sanctions and a reduction in scholarships, O’Brien has guided the Nittany Lions to a 15-9 record over the past two seasons.
Hardly the resume of a coach on his way out the door. Unless the NFL comes calling, apparently.
Later Thursday, NFL.com reported O’Brien has agreed to meet with the Houston Texans to interview for their coaching vacancy sometime after Christmas (meaning if true, the interview may have already taken place).
O’Brien reportedly interviewed with multiple NFL clubs at the end of last season, but decided to stay at Happy Valley and continue the resurrecting job he took on. According to numerous reports, O’Brien and the school agreed to lower the buyout an NFL team would have to pay to hire the coach from $13 million to $6.5 million, making it far easier for an NFL owner to bring on O’Brien.
The Texans, owners of the league’s worst record at 2-13 and riding a 13-game losing streak, fired head coach Gary Kubiak last month, and have reportedly already interviewed former Bears head coach Lovie Smith.