Tennessee Titans first-year coach Mike Munchak, who played on the offensive line under former Penn State University coach Joe Paterno, says he is not interested in the Nittany Lions job.
Munchak told reporters that while he respects his alma mater and hopes the school finds a successful coach, he has had no contact with the school regarding the vacancy and has no desire to leave Tennessee.
“I have a job I enjoy quite a bit,‘‘ Munchak, 51, said yesterday in a news conference after Titans practice. ‘‘I would love to stay involved with Penn State in some way, but I’m coaching the Titans and I’m very happy with what I’m doing.’’
Munchak was the top pick of Penn State’s search committee, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported yesterday, citing unidentified people. The committee is looking for a replacement to the 85-year-old Paterno, who was fired last month following his handling of child sex-abuse charges against former Nittany Lions assistant Jerry Sandusky.
‘‘Penn State means a lot to me. I went to school there and I am real concerned for what they have gone through the last couple of months,’’ Munchak said.
Penn State spokesman Jeff Nelson said in an e-mail that he had no comment on the search.
Munchak was an offensive lineman at Penn State from 1978 to 1981. A 2001 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he has spent his entire National Football League career with the Titans’ organization as a player, assistant coach and head coach.
Titans’ Playoff Chances
The Titans (8-7) are one of four teams -- along with the New York Jets -- still in contention for the sixth and final playoff spot in the American Football Conference. The Titans need a win against the Houston Texans on Jan. 1 to have any chance of capturing a playoff berth, the franchise’s first in three years.
Tom Bradley is 1-2 as Penn State’s interim coach following Paterno’s ouster. The Nittany Lions play the University of Houston in the TicketCity Bowl on Jan. 2.
Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, a former All-American at the University of Notre Dame, is next on the committee’s list of potential Paterno successors, according to the Post-Gazette.
Munchak said he did not think the school would have trouble finding a successful coach.
‘‘It’s such a great program that I don’t believe it will be a program that will suffer long as far as on the football field,” he said. “There is healing involved when something like this happens to the university itself, but as far as the football program goes, it’s a great program and it has great tradition.”