Bill Parcells Was Considered as Joe Paterno's Replacement at Penn State

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2015

AP Images

As Penn State's football program emerged from the Joe Paterno era, the school apparently wanted to make a big splash by hiring Bill Parcells as its next head coach.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, citing Parcells' book Parcells: A Football Life, the Nittany Lions contacted the Hall of Fame coach about the opening:

Penn State fired Paterno in November 2011, along with school President Graham Spanier, as the result of a school-wide housecleaning to get rid of any remnants of the Jerry Sandusky era.

Parcells coaching the Dallas Cowboys in 2006
Parcells coaching the Dallas Cowboys in 2006Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Tom Bradley, who had served as defensive coordinator under Paterno since 2000, took over as interim head coach before the Nittany Lions hired Bill O'Brien in January 2012.  

Parcells would have made an interesting hire for Penn State. He's one of the best football coaches in the history of the sport, but the school contacted him when he was 70 years old. He hasn't been in the college ranks since leaving Air Force after 1978.

ESPN's Phil Murphy was surprised at the news:

Given Parcells' ability to motivate and coach, it's possible he would have made a good modern college coach if he had taken the Penn State job. Whether he would have been able to keep up with the likes of Urban Meyer and Nick Saban is up for debate, however.

Ultimately, Parcells didn't take the job and got inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013. O'Brien parlayed his success in two seasons at Penn State into an NFL head coaching gig with the Houston Texans, and the Nittany Lions then hired Vanderbilt's James Franklin, who went 7-6 in his first season with the program in 2014.

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