According to sources within the Penn State Athletic Office, the search for the next head coach of Penn State football had come close to finding the potential successor to Joe Paterno, until it ran into a major roadblock this holiday season.
"The coaching search committee, the Penn State Board of Trustees, President Erikson, and I have laid down a specific set of qualities we are looking for in our next head coach, and we thought we had found the one man who fit every criteria," said acting Athletic Director David Joyner in his first public interview about the ongoing search. "We wanted a man who had strong moral character. Someone who knows naughty from nice. It was a shame when we found out the perfect man couldn’t take the job."
Finding a new head coach is a delicate and very time-sensitive endeavor for any school, oftentimes encountering debilitating difficulties as they progress. This is doubly true for Penn State, who’s recent reputation after being embroiled in a child sex scandal involving a former defensive coordinator has made finding top potential candidates all that more difficult. But a coaching search becomes even more difficult when your top candidate is a fictional person.
"We were really disappointed when we found out that Kris [Kringle] couldn’t take the job. At first, we thought it was just a scheduling issue. A lot of top coaches have major obligations this time of year, like bowl games, so we figured we would be able start contract talks after he finished up with his commitment on the 25th. That seems unlikely now though."
Sources familiar with the coaching search and common Christmas stories stated that Kringle, aka Santa Claus, was a "perfect fit from every angle".
"We thought he had everything," said Joyner as he gingerly removed a batch of snickerdoodles from the oven. "A man of high character, popular with the general public, and very media friendly."
"And lets not forget his football prowess; he’s worked with kids all across the nation for a long time. And his philosophy on the game would reinvigorate the program with some of the latest trends. Its obvious his focus is on team speed and agility, with guys on his latest team named "Dasher", "Comet" and "Dancer". We're looking for more of a vertical attack, maybe a lot of go routes, or in the terminology he uses, "Dash Away All". And while Kris is obviously an offensive mind, but he still understands the defensive game as well, as he is a big proponent of Blitzen."
Joyner paused for a moment as he rearranged his nativity scene made of miniature plastic cat statues, "Sure, he might have had some quirks about him, but Mike Leach dresses like a pirate or whatever, so whats the big deal if our guy dresses kinda like a big red eskimo. It does get cold in State College early anyways. There's the issue of him wearing all red too, but that's something we can work on."
AD Joyner also cited Kris's great staff of coaches, or "helpers", as he likes to call them, and the fact that Kringle is already used to working in an isolated environment like you'd find in State College as major pluses as well. Also, his extensive recruiting efforts have been noted as well, as Kringle keeps a dedicated list for all potential prospects across the entire nation.
"Of course, money came into play as well," said Joyner as he delicately added the final gumdrop to an oversized gingerbread replica of Beaver Stadium. "The man would have come incredibly cheap. How can you pass up a guy who only has one Claus in his contract for a bonus of milk and cookies? And maybe some place to take care of those deer he loves so much? I don't know, I thought when we sent that letter, which is apparently the only way to get a hold of him, but I thought we had it all hammered out. I mean, I specifically asked for a new Penn State Head Coach by Christmas. And you can't believe how excited I got when I saw him hanging out right outside the Corner Room! So you could only imagine my disappointment when mother told me he wasn't actually real."
Joyner's mother refused to comment, aside from sitting in the corner of the festively decorated living room and shaking her head in disgust as she poured herself several large mugs of eggnog.
When asked who Penn State would now pursue to fill the Head Coaching vacancy, Joyner only sullenly responded, "I don't know, that Neuheisel guy is still available, right? I think I saw him at the Corner Room too."
Happy Holidays Everyone!