Search Process for Next Head Coach Underway

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The search for the 16th head coach in Penn State Football history is underway.

Penn State Director of Athletics Dave Joyner addressed the media on Thursday morning following the announcement that Bill O'Brien has accepted a position as head coach of the NFL's Houston Texans.

9578957.jpegJoyner said that the process is expected to move at a swift pace as Penn State looks for its next leader of the football program.

"We expect this search to be very timely," Joyner said.  "Our anticipation is that we'll be counting this in a matter of days rather than weeks."

A six-person search committee has been formed to handle the process of finding the new head coach.  The committee members include - Joyner (Chair); Dr. Tom Poole - Vice President for Administration; Charmelle Green - Associate Athletic Director, Senior Woman Administrator; Dr. Linda Caldwell - Faculty Athletics Representative, Distinguished Professor; Bob Warming - Penn State Men's Soccer head coach and Wally Richardson - Director of the Penn State Football Letterman's Club.

Joyner noted on Thursday morning that there has been tremendous interest in the head coaching position.  The process, as is standard procedure for any head coach search within the department, will remain confidential until the next head coach of the program has been announced.

"It's going to be a very robust search, and there's an extreme amount of interest in this for a lot of reasons," Joyner said.  "We have a great fan base here.  We have tremendous interest.  Look at the media that's in this room.  We have the fifth largest attendance again this year, and the kind of support that a head coach will get here from the community as well as the media as well as our fans and our student‑athletes in the Penn State community will be tremendous.  So that kind of excitement, that kind of fervor really is the undercurrent of this search."

During the process, Larry Johnson will be the interim head coach.  Johnson is a tremendously respected figure in the football program, and he will serve as the point of contact for the current student-athletes on the roster and handle the recruiting duties until a new head coach is in place.

"Larry Johnson is a tremendous individual, as you all know," Joyner said.  "He means a lot to Penn State, and he's meant a lot to these players over the years.  So we're very, very fortunate to have a man of Larry Johnson's caliber to be able to act as the glue right now in between."

Asked what he is looking for in the next head coach, Joyner said that like any facet of Penn State Intercollegiate Athletes, he seeks "IAC" - 1. Integrity 2. Academics 3. Championships.  Head coaching experience will be a very important part of consideration, but is not an absolute requirement, Joyner said.

"Obviously, we got an unbelievable head coach who was an offensive coordinator ahead of his time," Joyner said.  "So it depends on the individual in the end.  But our job is to get the best coach available out there.  Certainly, head coaching experience is a very desirable requisite."

As the search process will move at a swift pace, Joyner stressed the importance to best serve the interests of the student-athletes.

"Our job for all the student‑athletes here is to get the best football coach possible, to lead them as we move forward, and we make our pledge to do that, and we make our pledge to do that in a contracted time frame, but do it appropriately and with great thought and great analysis," Joyner said.

Finally, GoPSUsports.com would like to wish Coach O'Brien the best of luck in his transition to the Houston Texans.  O'Brien provided superb leadership for Penn State Football during some of its most difficult times.  Additionally, Coach O'Brien contributed great analysis and insight for the Football Blog on a regular basis to enable us to provide the best coverage possible for the Penn State fans.

We look forward to continuing the in-depth coverage of the Nittany Lions in the next chapter of Penn State Football.


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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