Golden said he is not a candidate for any head coach position

The field of contenders to become the new head coach at Penn State was reduced by one Sunday after University of Miami head coach Al Golden said he is “not a candidate for another (coaching) position.”

Golden, a former Nittany Lions player and assistant coach, was believed to have interviewed on Saturday in South Florida with the search committee seeking a head coach to succeed Bill O’Brien.

In a statement released shortly before 4 p.m., on Miami’s athletics web site, Golden, the former Temple head coach, said:

“There has been much speculation concerning my future at the University of Miami. While I am flattered that our progress at the U during an extremely difficult period of time is recognized, I am also appreciative of just what we have here at UM and I am not a candidate for another position.

“We are eager to welcome our student-athletes back to campus next week and visit with prospective student-athletes and their families beginning Jan. 15.”

The statement marks Golden’s first public comments since last Tuesday night, when it was reported by ESPN that O’Brien had accepted the head coaching position with the Houston Texans.

In the meantime, two other candidates for the job, former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, were scheduled to have interviews Sunday with the committee, according to reports.

In reporting the interview with Munchak, who starred as a player at Penn State in 1979 and 1981, ESPN said the Titans offered the coach a contract extension and a raise if he would make changes to his coaching staff, but he rejected the idea and was fired Saturday.

Franklin, coming off a Compass Bowl win Saturday by his team over Houston, was expected to interview Sunday, according to the site ESPN said Franklin also is being sought for talks with the Cleveland Browns and the Washington Redskins.

It was not known where the interviews would take place, but both candidates are based in Nashville.

--Joe Juliano