Greg Roman headshot 2011

Ventnor native Greg Roman, the San Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator, is a finalist to become Penn State's new head football coach, says his agent.

San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman, a Ventnor native and Holy Spirit High School graduate, is a finalist for the Penn State football head-coaching job, his agent said Monday.

Mike Harrison told The Associated Press by phone that Roman interviewed for the position in November and is on the "short list" to take over the embattled program, rocked in recent months by the sex-abuse scandal.

Roman confirmed to The Press of Atlantic City via text message Monday that he interviewed with Penn State officials and has been in further contact with them recently, but he declined to comment further.

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Roman told The Press: "My focus is 100 percent on helping the 49ers win the next game."

Harrison said he expects to know soon whether Roman will be hired but declined to offer further details, such as whether Roman would finish out the season with the playoff-bound NFC West champion 49ers (13-3). San Francisco is the NFC's No. 2 seed and earned a first-round bye, with its first game Jan. 14 at Candlestick Park.

"We should know in a week or so. That's our best guess," said Harrison, of the Los Angeles-based agency Advantage Sports & Entertainment. "He interviewed quite a while ago."

On Sunday, acting Penn State athletic director David Joyner said that nobody had emerged as a leading candidate. Joyner also had previously said that the school wanted to have a new head coach in place in time to recruit before high school seniors can start announcing their college choices on Feb. 1.

Penn State's season ended Monday with a 30-14 loss to Houston in the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas.

Harrison said Roman - who came to the 49ers from Stanford along with coach Jim Harbaugh last year - was offered the Tulane job to replace Bob Toledo. The school hired Curtis Johnson last month.

Penn State's program has been without a permanent head coach since Nov. 9, when university trustees fired Hall of Famer Joe Paterno in the aftermath of child sex abuse charges against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. He is awaiting trial and pleaded not guilty after waiving a preliminary court hearing last month.

Longtime defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, who has been leading the team on an interim basis, has interviewed for the job. Defensive line coach Larry Johnson is also among the candidates who have interviewed.

The 49ers were the surprise team of the NFL this season under coach Jim Harbaugh, who was previously Stanford's head coach and brought Roman with him when he took the San Francisco job.

The Niners finished the regular season ranked 26th in total offense, averaging 310.9 yards per game.

Roman, 39, was a finalist last year for the head-coaching job at the University of Pittsburgh that eventually went to Todd Graham. Graham coached the Panthers this season but just left to replace Dennis Erickson at Arizona State.

"When (Harbaugh) he called me to join him at Stanford, I was getting a lot of calls from NFL teams," Roman told The Press during an interview in October. "People would be shocked at some of the opportunities I was offered. But something in my gut told me to go to Stanford and it was the right move. I learned a lot and had a chance to develop my offensive philosophy.

"It's the same thing with the Niners. I was in line for the head coaching job at Pitt (University of Pittsburgh) and was on the list at Stanford. But this was also the right move. I like to say that we're all building something special together here. It's a great situation."

Roman became the 49ers' ninth offensive coordinator in as many seasons when Harbaugh hired him. While the offense has hardly been flashy, quarterback Alex Smith and San Francisco ended an eight-year playoff drought - with the 49ers' 10 total turnovers ranking fewest in the NFL this season.

Before joining Harbaugh at Stanford in 2009, the 1990 Holy Spirit graduate spent the 2008 season as the offensive coordinator at his alma mater under then-Spartans coach Charlie Roman (no relation).

"I went from coaching (former Ravens All Pro offensive tackle) Jonathan Ogden to coaching a pair of 14-year-old freshmen running backs (current seniors Donta Pollack and Nigel Jones)," Roman said with a laugh in October. "But it was great to be back home and help Charlie out. I could tell those kids were going to be terrific even back then."

(Staff Writer David Weinberg contributed to this report. AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this story from Santa Clara, Calif., and AP Sports Writer Genaro C. Armas contributed from Dallas.)

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