Urban Meyer may replace Joe Paterno as Penn State’s head coach, according to swirling rumors from sources close to the situation.
WKPS-FM, Penn State’s college radio station, reported that Meyer bought property in Boalsburg, Pa. – about four miles from Penn State’s campus. The 47-year-old coach won championships with the University of Florida before he retired from the school last year, citing health concerns and a desire to spend more time with his family.
Penn State is looking to alleviate pressure caused by the child abuse allegations pinned upon former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
Many say Paterno could be out as soon as this week. Although the Penn State coach is not charged with committing any crime, he is facing mounting pressure to resign after none of the alleged abuses committed by Sandusky were reported.
Last week, Ohio State beat writer Jeff Rapp reported that Penn State officials had talked to Meyer about the job and that Meyer was interested in going to Happy Valley, according to sources.
“Urban would love to have that job,” the source told Rapps’ blog, SportsRappup.com.
Adding, “Keep in mind, though, that he doesn’t want to be known as the guy who forced out Joe Paterno. It would have to be done in the right way. I think they could appeal to [Paterno’s] best interests and allow him to be the king-maker.”
Football analysts have long anticipated Paterno’s retirement, and speculated about his replacement. According to popular opinion, should Paterno step down the job may be offered to Meyer, University of Miami head coach Al Golden or ESPN analyst and former NFL coach Jon Gruden.
The New York Times reported yesterday that Penn State was planning for Paterno’s exit.
Meyer currently works as a college football analyst for ESPN. He has never ruled out a return to coaching, and many fans have assumed it is only a matter of when, not if, Meyer returns to the sidelines.
Though Meyer began his coaching career at Ohio State, the job at Penn State has major advantages. He would enjoy a wide recruiting base, a winning tradition, a rabid group of fans, placement in a major conference and good money.
Meyer would also enjoy the comparative lack of pressure. Coaching at Florida and in the Southeastern Conference means championships are expected every year. Penn State has only won one championship in the last 30 years.
A decision on Paterno is impending – a decision on or by Meyer may take a little longer.