DALLAS - Penn State acting athletic director Dave Joyner doesn't yet have a list of finalists for the football coaching position, but he said he plans to interview interim coach Tom Bradley "before too long."
Bradley, the longtime Nittany Lions assistant elevated when Joe Paterno was fired in the wake of the child sex-abuse scandal involving former assistant Jerry Sandusky, acknowledged his interest in the job during a news conference at the Omni Dallas hotel to promote the team's upcoming appearance in the TicketCity Bowl.
"I know I'll be coaching the bowl game," Bradley said of the Jan. 2 matchup with No. 20 Houston at the Cotton Bowl. "The interview process, I can't answer how they're going about it, but I imagine it will be sometime next week. It's been hard for us because of my schedule with recruiting. I have a lot of different angles I have to cover and do things and they've been busy, obviously. I'm not sure exactly where they are in the process."
Joyner does, but he isn't saying. Bradley is the only candidate he has named - only because Bradley outed himself first.
Joyner said he plans to name only one finalist - the man who eventually gets the job.
He wouldn't commit to naming a coach before the bowl but said "the target's the next 30 days. We're going to do a search as rapidly as we can and do it well. We don't want to be careless."
The search, he said, is for a coach who provides "integrity, academics and knows how to win football games." While there has been speculation the school needs to make a clean break from the past and hire a coach from outside the program, Joyner said having a previous tie to Penn State is "certainly not a negative" for a candidate.
"They understand our process and they understand what Penn State's all about," he said, then added, "Not that other people can't."
Joyner declined to talk specifically about how much interest coaches have shown in a job that includes the disadvantages of following the legendary Paterno, the winningest coach in NCAA Division I football history, and taking over a program tainted by a horrific scandal.
"I'll just say I'm happy with the interest that's being shown," he said.
Joyner also would not discuss a salary range for the new coach. University president Rodney Erickson has said the school is not likely to give a huge contract on the order of the $4 million to $5 million earned annually by Ohio State's Urban Meyer, Alabama's Nick Saban and Texas' Mack Brown.
Paterno was making about $1 million per year.
"We understand what's going on out there and we're going to look at all those things very carefully," Joyner said.
Joyner said he has not consulted Paterno in the search process and does not plan to.
While the search continues, Bradley is going about the business of running the program. That includes recruiting, which would seem to be a dicey situation given the negative publicity surrounding Penn State, not to mention the uncertainty at the head-coach position.
Even so, Bradley said, the recruits he has talked to have been "receptive" to his message.
"We talk about Penn State's great attributes," Bradley said. "Our college campus life hasn't changed, our academics haven't changed, it's still Big Ten football, there's the family atmosphere we have at Penn State . . . That's not going to change. I've been talking about the things at Penn State that are going to be there no matter what.
"It's been great . . . They've had questions. We've answered the questions. We've had open forums. There was an opportunity for parents to call in one night to hear the answers from all of us coaches collectively, so they knew what they were hearing was the same voice, that what was being said to one was being said to them all."
Bradley said some high school players had expressed concern about the allegations of abuse and coverup hanging over the program, and said one player who has committed has said he is again considering other schools because of the scandal.
Most, he said, are waiting for the new coach to be named to make a decision.