Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak remains on Penn State's radar, even as he finishes his first season as an NFL head coach with the Titans still alive in the playoff chase.
TitanInsider has been told that Munchak and Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe are among the candidates that Penn State is most interested in in trying to replace legendary Joe Paterno, who was fired after 46 seasons in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.
Munchak, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is the search committee's top recommendation, along with former Notre Dame quarterback and NFL assistant Tom Clements.
However, Munchak twice before has denied having interest in the Penn State job to reporters in Nashville, saying he is happy in the Titans organization as head coach. Also, a source close to the Titans told TitanInsider on Wednesday that there's "nothing to it regarding Munchak returning to Penn State."
Munchak later denied the connection on Wednesday in a published report.
If there was a pull for Munchak to return to Happy Valley, it would have been that his family, including his parents, is still located in the vicinity in Scranton, Pa., and the opportunity to be at home could be enticing, as well as to coach at his alma mater.
Besides, with Penn State having not filled the vacancy nearly two months after Paterno's ouster, could mean the Nittany Lions are waiting on someone from the NFL. College coaches routinely jump from job to job once the college regular season is over, not waiting until after bowl games.
However, Munchak also has strong ties to Bud Adams and the Titans organization, of which he has been a member as a Hall of Fame player or coach since 1982. The staff that Munchak assembled in Tennessee not only contains his best friend Bruce Matthews as offensive line coach, but others he has strong ties with as well - like Penn State teammate Chet Parlavecchio and his former Oilers teammate Jerry Gray as defensive coordinator.