Steve A. Garban, chairman of Penn State’s Board of Trustees, reached out to gauge Virginia Coach Mike London’s interest in succeeding Joe Paterno on Wednesday, before the board announced the firing of the Nittany Lions’ longtime coach, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation.
Meanwhile, the Patriot-News reports that assistant coach Mike McQueary appears to be the latest person to lose his job over the developing sexual assault scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
The person, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said London has no interest in leaving Virginia and declined the overture. In fact, the person said, London would prefer to sign an extension to remain with the Cavaliers beyond the terms of his current five-year contract, which expires Dec. 7, 2014.
On Friday afternoon, according to two team sources, new receivers coach Terrell Golden gathered his players in a room at the PSU football complex and allowed them to talk with McQueary on a speaker phone.
During a brief and emotional conversation, McQueary told them, “I wanted to let you guys know I'm not your coach anymore. I'm done.”
When players asked, "Coach, where are you? Can we see you?" McQueary responded, “No, I'm actually in protective custody. I'm not in State College.”
However, several hours later, Sports Information Director Jeff Nelson said that McQueary was not in protective custody - that his characterization was not true, raising the prospect that it was an attempt at black humor that fell flat. The players did not get the joke and were still shaken by the comment when the call ended.CBSSports.com examines why London might have been of interest to the Penn State board.
While London has no specific ties to the Nittany Lions, he did spend three seasons on the Virginia coaching staff under then-defensive coordinator Al Golden. Golden, former tight end and team captain at Penn State, has been immediately suggested as a candidate for the job, though the Miami head coach insists that he and his family are happy in Coral Gables. London eventually followed Golden as defensive coordinator for two seasons before spending two seasons as the head coach at Richmond.If overtures to London were made, then it would be the latest indicator that the Board of Trustees is making decisions quickly. Within the past 48 hours, it has dismissed the university's president and the football coach; and it promoted the provost to the presidency.
In only his second year at Virginia, London already has the Cavaliers bowl eligible and in contention for an ACC Coastal Division title. With a focus on in-state recruiting and rebuilding pride in the program, London's strides in Charlottesville deserve the attention he has been receiving. His "no thanks" to Penn State likely has as much (if not more) to do with the success at Virginia than the issues in State College.