It looks like Penn State has established its top two choices to replace Bill O’Brien.
Miami head coach Al Golden and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin have both reportedly been in talks with the university and are now the favorites to become Penn State’s next head football coach.
According to ESPN’s Joe Schad, Golden is apparently interested in coming to Penn State due to his history at the school.
Penn State source said Al Golden agreed to speak about the opening as early as today because “It would be coming home.”
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) January 3, 2014
Sources have told Onward State that Penn State has offered Golden its head coaching position*, while www.footballscoop.com called Golden to Penn State a “strong possibility.”
Sources at both Miami and Penn State tell us Al Golden to PSU is strong possibility. Will update
— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) January 3, 2014
Golden played tight end in Happy Valley under Joe Paterno from 1987-1991, and was the team’s linebackers coach in 2000, and he hasn’t been shy to discuss his admiration for the university.
Prior to coaching at Miami, Golden turned lowly Temple from a laughing stock into one of college football’s best stories. His 27-34 record at Temple is semi-misleading, as he went 9-4 and 8-4 in his last two years in Philadelphia.
While at Miami, Golden has gone 22-15, including a 9-4 record last season. He has also done an amazing job in recruiting, and has ESPN’s fourth best incoming recruiting class for 2014.
That’s not the only major coaching news of the day. According to a tweet from Pete Russell of www.coachingsearch.com, Franklin, a Pennsylvania native, will interview for Penn State’s vacant coaching position on Sunday.
A source has informed me that James Franklin will interview for the Penn State job on Sunday. http://t.co/myAKqPF07h
— Pete Roussel (@coachingsearch) January 3, 2014
Franklin is the hottest name in coaching right now, and his name has been brought up in seemingly every major head coaching job in college football, including Penn State and Texas.
In three years at lowly Vanderbilt University, Franklin has turned the Commodores into a respectable team, going 23-15 with an 11-13 conference record. Like Golden, the 41 year old has also shown himself to be an excellent recruiter, as Vanderbilt has ESPN.com’s 29th best recruiting class for 2014.
While it’s early to make any assumptions, it looks like either Franklin or Golden are in the driver’s seat for Penn State’s vacant coaching position, and that the job will be filled sooner rather than later.
*Update: In the spirit of full disclosure, there are several conflicting reports coming out now on whether Golden was offered the job or not. Phil Grosz of Blue White Illustrated, along with CaneSport (Miami’s Rivals Site) have both confirmed that Golden received an offer. Other Penn State reports, like Dave Jones, are saying the opposite. We will continue to keep you apprised as the story develops.