PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Speculation is growing that former Homeland Security Secretary and PA Gov. Tom Ridge could replace Penn State president Graham Spanier, even though sources close to Ridge tell KDKA-TV that no one official at Penn State has approached Ridge about the position.

But close friends and Ridge cabinet members tell KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano that Ridge would be great for the job.

“Regardless of the circumstances, he is the man for almost any job I know, any difficult and challenging job, and that certainly would be the situation there,” says former Conservation & Natural Resources Secretary John Oliver.

Oliver says from his experience in Ridge’s Cabinet that Ridge is an excellent administrator, a former prosecutor as U.S. Attorney, and a strong governor to whom President Bush turned in the days after 9/11.

“When he took over the Department of Homeland Security, he certainly faced a crisis situation,” notes Oliver.

High marks in Washington lead many to say Ridge can restore integrity and confidence to a troubled university.

“I just have the utmost confidence in his ability to assess the situation and then take whatever action is necessary.”

Now there is no confirmation from either Ridge or Penn State that this will happen.

Sources tell KDKA that Ridge, who has a successful consulting firm in Washington, won’t publicly comment on the idea until there is a vacancy or some official at Penn State approaches him.

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