I am so confused by how the Penn State football search committee has conducted their search, I don't know what to believe anymore.
I'm starting to think that they might end up settling for anybody just to fill the position. Wow, two months ago this would have been one of the most coveted jobs in all of college football and now this.
Even if they did get Mike Munchak, he had no college coaching experience and hence no recruiting experience. So he played at PSU roughly 32 years ago: So have several thousand other Nittany Lions football players. That doesn't make them qualified to be Penn State's head football coach, though.
I still can't believe that Pat Fitzgerald wouldn't want the job.
He's reached a ceiling at Northwestern. His highest finish is a fourth-place finish; he'll never top that. Usually, coaches want to move up the old corporate ladder so to speak. Get a better job, make more money and so on. Fitzgerald's position on this has me completely dumbfounded.
I believe that Penn State will pony up $3 million a year for him, and I believe that the right coach is Pat Fitzgerald and the appropriate time is this coming week. The committee has felt all along that Fitzgerald is the perfect candidate - even better than Urban Meyer.
The problem has been prying him away from his beloved alma mater. I believe that his hunger and drive to win championships will get the best of him, and he will leave for greener pastures - for Penn State's 109,000-seat stadium, state-of-the-art facilities, rich football tradition, rich alums/donors, fertile recruiting grounds in Pennsylvania and the Northeast and on and on.
I've also been reading various message boards and tweets that the search is going to shock the college football world - a 8.0 of an earthquake.
Then I saw that the name being mentioned is Nick Saban. As crazy at that sounds, if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.
First, Saban is fond of Joe Paterno and vice versa.
Saban loves challenges, and there's none bigger one than Penn State right now. He has nothing left to prove at Alabama with two national titles and he's in another the BCS championship game Jan. 9.
He makes $5 million a year at Alabama, and before that, he made big bucks with the Miami Dolphins so he doesn't need the money. He might see himself as the savior of Penn State football.
It also explains Joyner saying it would be 30 more days, taking the search into January. If there is no announcement on Jan. 3., then Saban might be the guy.
If Saban turns out to be the guy, then he would provide instant credibility and stability to the PSU football program. Recruits would line up to play for him.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Decision may take more time
I wanted to share some thoughts on the Penn State coaching search which I haven't seen discussed anywhere, including media articles and message boards.
There is a growing sentiment among fans and some media that an announcement of a new coach will be coming on Jan. 3.
I don't believe this is going to be the case, if you understand the nature of this process including its call for thoroughness.
The "we have our man locked up [crowd] and we're waiting until after the bowls or NFL regular season before making an announcement" seems to be overlooking something.
Other than contact and discreet discussions with such an individual, how much of the interview process could actually have occurred with active coaches without substantial leaks? How could an active head coach participate discreetly in such a drawn-out process without disclosing contact and interest, much less contributing great distraction to their current work?
I believe that the search committee's real work will begin on Jan. 3.
They're going to want to spend some quality time with the eventual selection and that includes meeting with the full committee, school president and possibly other key personnel over a few days at least.
Active coaches can take vacation time, as many do, following the completion of a season.
This process could be completed much easier (and discreetly) after a season as opposed to at the very end of one. In fact, is it not likely that some candidates may have given the reply "check back with me after my bowl game" response when "feelers" were first sent out?
If a coach finishes his season by Jan. 2 and returns home, he'll in all liklihood spend the next 7 to 10 days in this process before the search committee and president have enough confidence that they have their man. I also do not see them wanting to upstage the national championship game in any way.
Is it not reasonable to believe that any kind of announcement will be coming after Jan. 9, perhaps as late as January 13?
Such a wait will in all likelihood drive the fan base bonkers. But I believe they should at least be prepared.
I know I am.
Furious with board
I read where Dave Joyner said Penn State is being "deliberate and measured" in their approach to finding a new football coach.
I had to read this a few times and it took a while to stop shaking my head after I did. My anger grew worse each time I read it.
Why wasn't Joyner and the rest of his fellow Board of Trustees "deliberate and measured" in the firing of the last coach, Joe Paterno?
As I recall, they didn't even meet with Paterno to discuss or hear his side of the Sandusky story. Had they been "deliberate and measured" instead of being in a rush to judgment, perhaps they wouldn't have ruined the career and reputation of JoePa.
Everyone else is still getting paid, and Paterno is without a job. Talk about a miscarriage of judgment.
Do you think that this Board of Directors has ever stopped to think what they unanimously have done? Do you think they even care or have one minute of regret?
Others can say or believe what they want, but it is this Board of Directors who have shown an elementary lack of judgment and it is they who have brought disgrace and dishonor to Penn State.
PSU will grow stronger
Penn State will come out of this as a much better university and set the new standard for ethics by doing things the right way.
It will become the torch bearer for other institutions of higher learning to learn from this school's mistakes. And I believe this is only the tip of the iceberg.
What has happened at Penn State and Syracuse is only the beginning where other scandals will come out involving other universities and colleges.
As for the next coach, I could live with Tom Clements, current QB coach at Green Bay and former QB/coach at Notre Dame.
PSU needs someone from outside who can coach quarterbacks, and Clements would fully support the student-athlete concept since was at ND.
I would also like to see Larry Johnson and Ron Vanderlinden stay at PSU.
New Year's questions to ponder
In keeping with the holiday season and "The Twelve Days Of Christmas," below are 12 current sports-related questions covering 2011 that if asked and answered honestly, a fan from any sports town or team would be hard pressed to answer "yes" both now and for future years to come .....
1) Still think Michael Vick is worth all those millions?
2) Will Barry Bonds ever admit he cheated in baseball?
3) Will Sid Crosby ever return to full strength for the Pens?
4) Will the words "the previous play is under review," never again be heard in a college football game - much less a dozen times?
5) Think Fat Albert (Pujols) will be worth $25 million when he's 40 years old?
6) Follow up - and how about Peyton Manning's backup in Indy - ever worth $25 million?
7) Did you really care if the NBA got its act together in time for the holidays?
8) Will Tiger Woods ever climb back to No. 1 on the links?
9) Think the BCS can survive another decade?
10) Do you feel sorry for the Miami Heat and hope LeBron James gets his long-lost NBA ring this year? (Maybe Cleveland wants to answer this one.)
11) With no salary cap in MLB, will loyalty ever take precedence over cash? (Pirate fans? How about Cardinal fans, too?)
12) How about Clemens, Palmeiro, Big Mac, Manny and Sammy in Cooperstown anytime soon? Not to mention the best singles hitter ever in Pete Rose? Do they get your vote?
Expect to be tested for anything under the sun if you answered "yes," to more than one question above.
Either way, have a Happy New Year!