Posted by Bryan Fischer
Penn State's coaching search is shifting into high gear as the school looks to quickly move past the Joe Paterno era and select a new head coach to lead the team out of some of the program's darkest days.
School president Rod Erickson told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the school hoped to have a new coach in place by the time Penn State plays in a bowl game.
The 23rd-ranked Nittany Lions (9-3) lost last week to Wisconsin to end the regular season and should find out what game they will play in by Sunday night. CBSSports.com currently projects the team to go to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston on New Year's Eve. With the ongoing child sex abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, it is expected that the school slips behind several other Big Ten teams to a lower-tier bowl when committees hand out invites.
Paterno was fired after 46 seasons in early November in the wake of the Sandusky allegations. Longtime assistant coach Tom Bradley was named interim head coach but is not expected to be a leading candidate for the job.
However, a source told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that Bradley would be in charge of the team through the bowl game and be granted an interview for the full-time position. The football staff has been on the road recruiting this week before returning to Happy Valley to begin preparations for the final game of the season.
Acting athletic director Dave Joyner, a former Penn State football player, is the leader of the six-person search committee to help select a new coach. Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, Louisville head coach Charlie Strong and Virginia's Mike London have been mentioned as possible candidates.