Bill Parcells Could Have Been Hired As Penn State’s Coach After Paterno’s Firing

As outrageous and far-fetched as this seems, Bill Parcells was in the conversation as a potential replacement for the fired Joe Paterno in the wake of the Sandusky scandal.

Parcells, who hasn’t coached since retiring from the Dallas Cowboys back in 2006, was contacted by Penn State to gauge his interest in replacing Joe Paterno, a move that would have definitely turned some heads around the college football landscape. News of Penn State’s interest in Parcells came from the Hall of Fame coach’s biography, titled “Parcells: A Football Life.” ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio tweeted the find.

Of course, defensive coordinator Tom Bradley finished out the season at the helm, and then-New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien was hired as the man to lead the Nittany Lions into a new era. Parcells stayed retired from coaching — despite his name being tossed around in coaching circles every offseason — instead joining the Miami Dolphins from 2008-2010 as the team’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations, and more recently joining the Cleveland Browns as a Courtesy Consultant, a position he has held since 2014.

As vital as Bill O’Brien was to Penn State’s post-Paterno success, Parcells would’ve made a damn fine replacement, and definitely would’ve made for some quality Hard Knocks style television in preseason camps.

Though Parcells is widely known for his NFL success, he’s coached in the college ranks before, with stints coaching linebackers at Hastings, Wichita State, Army (where he also served as the defensive coordinator for one season) Florida State, Vanderbilt, and Texas Tech. He served as the Air Force Academy’s head coach for one season in 1978, before embarking on a Hall of Fame career coaching in the professional ranks.

Penn State’s coaching situation is currently secure for the foreseeable future under James Franklin, but just pause for a second and try and picture a Penn State team led by the legendary Bill Parcells. That would’ve been something.

Photo: James D. Smith/Icon SMI

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About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected].

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