Boise State coach Chris Petersen's name has been linked to nearly every big college football head coaching vacancy over the last few seasons, and though he's been rumored to be on the short list to replace Joe Paterno at Penn State almost from day one, there's been a lack of hard reporting to back up any interest from the Nittany Lions in the current Broncos head man.
Mark Wogenrich of the Allentown Morning Call reported late Monday night that Petersen, along with Harvard coach Tim Murphy, is getting a hard look from acting athletic director David Joyner's six-person search committee tasked with finding a replacement for former coach Joe Paterno, as he reportedly meets the group's "highly ethical" standards.
Two coaches who fit those parameters and will be considered are Boise State's Chris Petersen and Harvard's Tim Murphy, a person familiar with the football program said.
Both Petersen and Murphy have denied interest in other jobs, and Petersen last week turned down an offer of nearly $4 million annually from UCLA, according to the Los Angeles Times. Still, both are high on Penn State's list of candidates, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
It's hard to see Penn State shelling out more than the $4 million the Bruins offered Petersen, but if there's anyone who could make that exorbitance appear worth the expenditure, it's Petersen.
In six seasons at Boise, Petersen has compiled a sterling 72-6 record and has won four conference championships. He led the Broncos to a shocking Fiesta Bowl victory against heavily favored Oklahoma in 2006 to cap an undefeated season and got them back to the BCS in 2009, when he capped a 14-0 campaign with a win against TCU, again at the Fiesta Bowl. Boise went 11-1 this past season and will play in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas on Dec. 22.
Whether Petersen would consider leaving Boise to take a job at an embattled program like Penn State after turning down plenty of lucrative offers elsewhere in recent years remains to be seen. It appears he's safely on the radar, though, and given his impeccable credentials it's easy to see why the committee would find him desirable.