Penn State Football

Penn State football: Golden drawing interest from search committee

Miami coach Al Golden is atop a list of candidates to become Penn State’s next head football coach while another prospective replacement for Bill O’Brien is back on the market.

According to an ESPN report, Penn State’s six-member search committee met with Golden on Saturday. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Friday that the visit would’ve happened earlier that day but the committee was delayed by bad weather.

Meanwhile, rumors of a Penn State offer and Golden’s impending exodus from Miami swirled on social media sites Saturday.

Miami Director of Athletics Blake James sent a text message to the Associated Press on Saturday that affirmed his belief Golden would remain at the school.

“He’s our coach. I believe he’ll be our coach,” James said. affiliates Blue White Illustrated and CaneSport reported Friday night that Golden had been offered the job. Golden’s agent, Brett Senior, could not be reached by the CDT. Meanwhile, the Miami Herald said that reports of Golden leaving Miami “were not true.”

Golden, who’s coached the Hurricanes for three seasons, agreed to a four-year contract extension with Miami in 2011 and is signed until 2020. In the last three seasons at Miami he’s led the Hurricanes to a 22-15 record. Miami lost to Louisville 36-9 in the Citrus Bowl last weekend.

In the meantime, Golden has helped Miami through a rebuilding period. Golden’s first Miami team went 6-6 but improved to 7-5 and 9-4 this season. Golden’s Hurricane staff also has corralled a Top 10 recruiting class according to 24/7 Sports.

For now, it is Larry Johnson keeping up with head coaching duties at Penn State. The longtime defensive line coach, who was named interim head coach earlier this week, said Friday afternoon that he would interview for the job.

Penn State officials responsible for the search have remained quiet since Director of Athletics Dave Joyner said Thursday the search would be “robust” and “timely.” But reports have indicated Penn State will continue to evaluate candidates.

Pete Roussel of reported that Penn State will interview Vanderbilt coach James Franklin on Sunday. Franklin’s Commodores beat Houston 41-24 in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Saturday. Franklin has also been reported to be drawing interest from other teams including NFL franchises.

Roussel reported that Franklin interviewed with the Houston Texans prior to O’Brien. The Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns have also been reported to have interest in the 41-year old.

It is unclear if Penn State has reached out to former Titans coach Mike Munchak who was fired on Saturday.

Like Golden, Munchak is a former Penn State player. Unlike Golden, Munchak has spent his entire coaching career in the NFL.

O’Brien, who returned to the NFL after two years at Penn State, announced he was cleaning house in Houston. O’Brien has fired both his offensive (Rick Dennison) and defensive (Wade Phillips) coordinators. Reports say he will let go all of the current position coaches. Multiple current Penn State assistants, hired by O’Brien, did not return messages seeking comment if they would seek jobs on O’Brien’s Houston staff.

Johnson said Friday he was unaware of any current assistants resigning.