UNIVERSITY PARK — The search to find Penn State’s next head football coach is proceeding as planned. It is expected to wrap up in the coming days.
Penn State Director of Athletics Dave Joyner released a statement through the university Tuesday expressing his satisfaction with the search process. Joyner is leading a six-member committee to find a replacement for Bill O’Brien, who left to coach the Houston Texans last week.
“The search for the new leader of the Penn State football program is progressing very well,” Joyner said. “We are on schedule and I anticipate having the new head coach in place in a matter of days. The search is robust as we anticipated it would be and we have an excellent pool of candidates. I have heard from many coaches, or their representatives, who have expressed their interest in the position.”
Sources familiar with the search have told the Centre Daily Times that Penn State has interviewed a number of candidates including ones on its shortlist. So far, despite numerous unsubstantiated reports, no one has been offered the job. Penn State interviewed Miami’s Al Golden over the weekend and also met with Vanderbilt’s James Franklin.
Meanwhile, CBSSports.com reported that Vanderbilt Athletic Director David Williams is preparing to retain Franklin’s services.
“I expect James to be our football coach. I’m planning on it,” Williams told the website. “We’re looking at facilities. We’re working on some stuff. I have all thoughts that he’s going to be our football coach. I’ll do everything I can to make sure that he is.”
Social media sites were abuzz Tuesday afternoon as a pair of Vanderbilt coordinators started following a number of Penn State recruits. Offensive coordinator John Donovan added Penn State commits De’Andre Thompkins, Troy Apke and Mark Allen to those he follows. Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop followed suit and began following Thomas Holley, Jason Cabinda, Antoine White and Troy Reeder.
Golden denied reports linking him to Penn State with a statement on Sunday with a statement issued by the Miami athletic department.
ESPN reported that former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak interviewed on Sunday and stood by that report after Munchak told The Tennessean on Sunday night the interview didn’t happen. Sources familiar with the search told the Centre Daily Times that search committee members have been in contact and have spoken with Munchak’s camp but wouldn’t characterize those talks as an interview.
Follow Travis Johnson on Twitter @bytravisjohnson.