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Feb. 7, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; - The NFL's Tennessee Titans today named former Penn State All-American Mike Munchak to become the 16th head coach in franchise history and the first who was a former player for the team.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to be the next head coach of the Tennessee Titans," Munchak said at his introductory press conference. "He (Joe Paterno) is probably the guy I `ve learned the most from - his discipline, the way he ran the team. He commanded the room and the practice field. He was very hands-on and involved. I'm hoping to instill some of things I learned from him here."
Munchak becomes the first former Penn State player to be a National Football League head coach in the modern era and the third overall. Hinkey Haines was head coach of the Staten Island Stapletons in 1931 and Mike Palm was head coach of the Cincinnati Reds in 1933. Haines and Palm were player-coaches.
Former Nittany Lion quarterback John Hufnagel is the head coach and general manager of the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders, leading the team to the 2008 Grey Cup crown.
"Mike is a very dedicated and hard-working person," Paterno said. "He has a thorough knowledge of all aspects of the game and has always strived for great achievement as a player and a coach."
From Central High School in Scranton, Pa., Munchak was a starter for the Nittany Lions in 1979 and '81, missing the 1980 season with a knee injury. He earned second-team All-America honors in 1981, helping Penn State to a 10-2 record and No. 3 ranking, capped by a win over Southern California in the 1982 Fiesta Bowl. Munchak earned his degree in business logistics in 1982.
In the 1982 NFL Draft, Munchak was the eighth overall player selected and the first offensive lineman to have his name called. A guard, he earned nine Pro Bowl invitations during his 12-year career and was bestowed the honor of having his Oilers No. 63 jersey retired in 1996.
In 2001, Munchak became the fifth former Penn State player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Munchak spent the 1994-96 seasons assisting the Oilers' coaching staff. Munchak became the offensive line coach in 1997, the year the franchise moved to Tennessee, and has held that position for the past 14 years. Four of his players have totaled 10 Pro Bowl invitations and his offensive lines have paved the way for five different running backs to total 11 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
"This is a special day for this franchise as one of our former players takes over the team as the head coach," said Titans Owner K.S. "Bud" Adams, Jr. "Mike has been successful at everything he has been associated with at our franchise and I have no reason to believe that he won't be successful as our head coach. He earned Hall of Fame distinction as a player and yearly he has been one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL. He understands where we have been and knows where we need to go."
Former Nittany Lion standouts Kerry Collins and Tim Shaw are members of the Titans.
As a coach, Munchak is acknowledged as one of the finest teachers in the game. Only twice during his career has he had the benefit of starting the same starting five linemen from one year to the next; and yet, the Titans offensive lines are perennially one of the best lines in the NFL. His offensive line allowed the second fewest sacks (28.3 sacks per season) in the NFL since he assumed control of the group in 1997. Additionally, the Titans ranked seventh in the league in rushing yards (124.5 yards per game) during his tenure. He has seen Bruce Matthews, Brad Hopkins, Michael Roos and Kevin Mawae earn Pro Bowl invitations from his group in addition to providing protection for Pro Bowlers Eddie George, Steve McNair, Vince Young, Kerry Collins and Chris Johnson. His group aided McNair to NFL co-MVP (2003) and Johnson to Offensive Player of the Year (2009) honors.
As a player, Munchak started 156 regular season games (seventh in franchise history) and 10 playoff games for the Oilers between 1982 and 1993. Respected for his play, he was selected to the NFL's "All Decade" team for the 1980's. Chronic knee problems led him to retire while still at the top of his game. In his final year, he earned All Pro and Pro Bowl honors. A versatile player, he started his career in a run-first offense with RB Earl Campbell and transitioned to a pass blocker in the run-n-shoot offense guided by QB Warren Moon.
Munchak and his wife, Marci, have two grown daughters.
Information from the Tennessee Titans and The Penn State Football Encyclopedia were used in this report
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