Penn State Football: Niumatalolo Not a Target of Coaching Search, Rep Says
As the days go by, more and more tension and speculation have begun to surround the Penn State head coaching vacancy. Earlier this week, two more names began to circulate in unsubstantiated reports that Penn State had contacted the men's respective universities about the football opening.
The first of these two is Navy head Coach Ken Niumatalolo, whose multiple-option offense, relative youth (age 46) and moral foundation could have caught the eye of Penn State’s search committee.
A Navy spokesperson said early this morning that despite reports to the contrary, Penn State has not been in contact with Niumatalolo.
“I talked to Coach Niumatalolo, and he said it wasn’t true," the spokesperson said. "I also talked to our athletic director, Chet Gladchuk, and he said, when we signed Coach Niumatalolo to a long-term contract on April 21, that he said he wanted to coach at the Naval Academy for the rest of his life -- and there’s no reason to believe that has changed. I can confirm that Penn State has not contacted Navy about Coach Niumatalolo.”
The second coach to have been mentioned over the past seven days is Duke head Coach David Cutcliffe, whose claim to fame was mentoring both of the Manning brothers -- Peyton while at Tennessee, and Eli while at Mississippi.
A Duke spokesperson, when asked to comment on Penn State’s interest and rumored contact with Cutcliffe, would not confirm or deny those rumors.
“We will respectfully decline this request to comment," the spokesperson said.
These comments come a week after Penn State acting athletic director David Joyner said that the search committee was determined to find a permanent head coach within the next 30 days. Given that these comments were made on Dec. 8, it's possible that Penn State could wait until after the Nittany Lions’ Jan. 2 bowl game to announce a hire.