Penn State reportedly interviews Al Golden

Al Golden is scheduled to meet with his staff, and then with reporters, on Monday.
Al Golden is scheduled to meet with his staff, and then with reporters, on Monday. (YONG KIM / Staff)
Posted: January 06, 2014

The "is-he-or-isn't-he" saga of University of Miami coach Al Golden continued Saturday, with several reports saying that the former Penn State player interviewed in South Florida with a search committee seeking the Nittany Lions' next head coach.

Golden, the former Temple coach who has spent three seasons with the Hurricanes, appeared to be a priority of the committee, if not the top priority, among the reported top three candidates being pursued to succeed Bill O'Brien.

However, in a text Saturday to writers for the Miami Herald and South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Miami athletic director Blake James said: "Al & I are in regular communication. He is our coach & I believe he will be our coach going forward."

The Herald received an e-mail response on the subject Saturday night from Miami president Donna Shalala, who said: "We don't know anything yet."

Golden was scheduled to meet Monday with his staff, and then meet with reporters to review the Hurricanes' season. They finished 9-4 with a 36-9 loss to Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 28.

There still was no confirmation of a report by Blue White Illustrated, Penn State's Rivals.com affiliate, that Golden had been offered the job.

Golden's agent, Brett Senior, could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, former Penn State player Mike Munchak, highly regarded by university alumni, found himself unemployed after he was fired Saturday by the Tennessee Titans. Munchak spent 31 years as a player, assistant coach, and head coach with the organization but led the Titans to just a 22-26 record as head coach.

Another candidate, Vanderbilt head coach and Bucks County native James Franklin, led his team Saturday to a 41-24 victory over Houston in the Compass Bowl. He is scheduled to join ESPN Monday for its coverage of the BCS championship game.

There was no word on interviews being scheduled for Munchak or Franklin. ESPN reported that the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins have requested permission to speak with Franklin.

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, a former Nittany Lions quarterbacks coach who may get an interview with the search committee, met with the Detroit Lions, according to reports.

In player news, Penn State saw one of its 19 commitments for the Class of 2014 solidify his pledge Saturday when defensive tackle Antoine White of Millville High School tweeted: "I am a Nittany Lion and will be enrolled and on campus January 11th. No more questions."

Star quarterback Christian Hackenberg, O'Brien's first commitment in 2012, confirmed that he had no intention of transferring after the coach's departure.

"I know that they're going to do a great job [at Penn State] and we're really excited," Hackenberg told Newsplex.com, a group of media outlets based in Charlottesville, Va. "I know the team is excited. I've talked to a lot of the guys. We're excited for the future. We're ready to win football games next year."


jjuliano@phillynews.com

@joejulesinq

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