A day after being named as Penn State’s acting athletic director, David Joyner addressed the media for the first time Friday.
As expected, questions related directly to the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal that’s rocked the university and cost several people their jobs already were a major focus. Additionally, Joyner touched, albeit briefly, on several topics related to the controversy, including who will become the Nittany Lions’ first permanent head coach not named Joe Paterno since 1965.
Joyner, who is replacing Tim Curley as the on-leave AD fights charges of perjury and failure to report in connection to the Sandusky molestation case, said that he will direct the search for a successor to Paterno, although no timeline was given for tapping a replacement or even a hint as to who the candidates might be.
“We’re very aware the process must go on to keep the business of athletics moving forward, football included. But we have a couple of regular season games left, and with any luck maybe one or two more, and we to need to pay attention [to that]— and for those players and coaches to pay attention to do their job right now.”
“Well, I’m the acting athletic director, and I’ll be here as long as it takes, whatever time frame that takes. The acting athletic director will be here for selecting a coach and perhaps quite a while after that. I’ll help pick the coach.”
The name most connected to the opening is former Florida head coach Urban Meyer, although he could be off the market sooner rather than later; rumors are flying around Columbus and various points across the Internet that the current ESPN college football analyst is all but the next head coach of the Buckeyes. We’ve been assured that’s not the case, although the caveats of “yet/not yet” have been added in each instance an assurance was issued.
Tom Bradley, the Nittany Lions’ interim coach, would be a candidate along with any other individual who applied for the position, Joyner said. Given his three decades-plus of service on Paterno’s staff, however, the likelihood of Bradley having the interim tag stripped from his current title is practically nil.
That was something Joyner seemed to hint at when he talked about the athletic department as a whole and what the future holds.
“I’m sure there will be change,” Joyner said. “There’s always change when you come in and have a new process. …
“I’m just here to tell you that whatever has or has not gone in the past, we’re going to go forward in the athletic department with my view … that this is an academic unit. Now if we’ve lost some of that luster because of things that have happened, I can tell you that I’ve never lost that core value, and this athletic department will reflect that core value.”
Until Joyner temporarily stepped down to become the acting AD, he was a member of the Board of Trustees that decided to fire Paterno last week a few hours after he announced a retirement that would’ve taken place at season’s end. The fact the board fired the legendary coach over the phone brought a heavy dose of criticism — and one flipped television news van — from Penn State alumni and some in the media who felt JoePa deserved better.
Joyner… indicated that it was due to circumstances. With the media camped out at Paterno’s house, and all over State College, it would have been difficult to get word to the coach without the press getting wind of the decision first.
One final note, for now, from Joyner’s first press conference: the acting AD said that, contrary to rumors, there has been no discussion regarding the removal of the statue honoring Paterno outside of Beaver Stadium.