DALLAS - Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak gave his most emphatic denial yet Wednesday that he is not a candidate to become Penn State's new head football coach, leaving the slow-moving, buttoned-up search with more questions.
Speaking to (Nashville) Tennessean writer Jim Wyatt, Munchak said that he has not spoken to anyone from Penn State and that no one has spoken to anyone from the university on his behalf.
"I love my alma mater, but I have no interest in being the head coach at Penn State," said Munchak, whose quote appeared in a series of tweets by Wyatt. "I never want to leave Tennessee."
Munchak, 51, who was an offensive lineman for the Nittany Lions from 1978 to 1981, was reported in two publications - the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Harrisburg Patriot-News - to be at the top of the selection committee's list.
It also was reported that big contributors were in favor of Munchak's taking over.
But Munchak, who became head coach of the Titans last February - the first time he has held that position at any level - after 14 years as their offensive line coach, said he was not seeking and didn't want the job.
"I have a great deal of respect for Penn State, and I hope they find a great coach there," he said. "But I am happy where I'm at."
Joe Paterno was fired on Nov. 9, in his 46th season as head coach, in the wake of child sexual abuse charges against former assistant Jerry Sandusky. Tom Bradley, Paterno's defensive coordinator, took over on an interim basis.
Acting athletic director Dave Joyner, the chairman of the selection committee, said last week the panel was "taking a very deliberate and measured approach to the process" to find the coach "that best fits the requirement of the position."
Bradley said Tuesday he understood that the committee will wait until after the bowl game to name a new coach. He is considered to be a candidate.
The committee reportedly also has interviewed Green Bay Packers assistant Tom Clements, but it has been mum on who else has been contacted. Various reports have included Wake Forest's Jim Grobe and Duke's David Cutcliffe, but the panel's level of interest is unknown.
The Big Ten and the Pac-12 announced an agreement to enhance long-term scheduling commitments in football, basketball, and Olympic sports.
For football, the plan is to create 12 games per year between teams from the Big Ten and the Pac-12 starting by the 2017 season. Each school would play one game per season while respecting existing nonconference games.
Penn State already has a game against Pittsburgh scheduled for 2017.
The conferences said competition could start as early as the 2012-13 season in sports such as men's and women's basketball.
"As other conferences continue to grow through expansion, we believe there is great merit in deepening the historic relationship between the Big Ten and Pac-12," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement.