Golden, Franklin get interviews at PSU

Penn State officials were scheduled to meet with Miami coach Al Golden on Saturday and will talk to Vanderbilt coach James Franklin today, according to various media reports.

Another possibility for the Penn State coaching job opened up Saturday when the Tennessee Titans fired coach Mike Munchak, a PSU alum who reportedly is one of the three leading candidates. Munchak has been in the NFL for 32 years as a player or coach.

Golden was expected to meet with PSU officials Saturday, according to ESPN, and he has not spoken publicly about the matter.

“Al and I are in regular communication,” Hurricanes athletic director Blake James told the Miami Herald. “He is our football coach, and I believe he will be our coach going forward.”

Miami President Donna Shalala told that newspaper, “We don’t know anything yet” when contacted about Golden’s situation.

Golden, 44, was a tight end for Penn State from 1987-91 and was an assistant coach working with the linebackers in 2000. Rarely did the Nittany Lions have assistants leave during the Joe Paterno era, but Golden did that after only one season to become defensive coordinator at Virginia from 2001-05.

Golden took over the Temple program in 2006, and in five seasons he was widely praised for his work making the Owls a hard-nosed, competitive team. He left Temple for Miami in 2011 and has compiled a 22-15 record with the Hurricanes in three seasons, including 9-4 this year.

Miami has the No. 5 recruiting class in the country for next year, which could play a role in whether Golden decides to stay put or become head coach at his alma mater.

Franklin’s Vanderbilt team beat Houston on Saturday in the BBVA Compass Bowl, 41-24, blowing a 24-0 lead before scoring the final 17 points to win.

Vanderbilt finished 9-4, giving Franklin a 24-15 record there in three seasons. He’s a hot commodity in the coaching fraternity and is even being mentioned as a possible NFL coach in the near future.

It was reported Saturday by ESPN and other media outlets that both the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns are interested in interviewing him.

Franklin, 41, is a Pennsylvania native who was an assistant coach from 1995-2010 before finally getting a head coaching opportunity in 2011.

One potential danger if Penn State hires Franklin could be that he would depart for the NFL or another college job in a year or two, as Bill O’Brien did, leaving the Nittany Lions right back where they are today looking for a new coach.

Munchak, 53, was a second-team All-American guard for Penn State before enjoying a stellar NFL career. He was a 10-time All-Pro and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Munchak went 22-26 in three seasons as the Titans’ head coach, 7-9 this year, and never reached the playoffs.

If Penn State is interested in Munchak, it would need assurances that he can handle the adjustment of coming back to the college game after spending his entire adult life in the pros.

There has been no word as yet whether the Penn State search committee has interviewed interim head coach Larry Johnson, who said he is applying for the job.