Larry Johnson, Penn State’s beloved defensive line coach, has officially decided to throw his hat into the head coaching mix, a source tells Onward State.
Johnson was officially named interim head coach today and had a conference call soon after with most of the 2014 Penn State recruits. He informed them of his intentions to interview for the head coaching position, the source says, and encouraged them to honor their commitment to Penn State no matter who ends up with the job.
Larry Johnson began his tenure at Penn State in 1996 as the defensive ends and special teams coach. He has been the team’s defensive line coach since 2000, and is the only remaining member of Joe Paterno’s coaching staff still with the team.
“I’m humbled by the confidence that Penn State has bestowed upon me during this critical time for the football program and honored to do my part to help Penn State,” Johnson said in a statement earlier today. “My job will be made very easy since we have a team comprised of tremendous student-athletes, coaches, trainers and support staff who are second to none and care as much about Penn State as I do. This program has a historic past and very bright future and I look forward to continuing to work with the players, staff and our incoming recruiting class to uphold the tremendous traditions, ideals and principles that make Penn State the best University in the nation and the football program the most successful on and off the field.”
“Coach Johnson is a tremendous individual and if Coach Johnson wants to get into this mix, he will be welcomed and certainly get every strong consideration,” Athletic Director Dave Joyner said this morning.
Only time will tell if Johnson is able to remove the interim tag accompanying his current title.