It’s been widely reported that Dave Joyner would remain on as Penn State’s athletic director until Rodney Erickson stepped down as president. With Erickson resigning in January and replaced by Eric Barron a month later, everyone knew the clock was ticking on Joyner’s tenure at the school.
Now, four months later, it appears said clock is about to strike midnight.
Citing several university sources, Dave Jones of PennLive.com is reporting that Joyner’s time with the Nittany Lions is all but officially over. In fact, an announcement revealing the move publicly could be made as early as this week.
Joyner helped shepherd the athletic department in general and the football program specifically through the dark days of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal and subsequent firing of the legendary Joe Paterno. Arguably Joyner’s greatest accomplishment during his 31 months on the job was the hiring of Bill O’Brien to replace Paterno.
While he’s since left for the NFL’s Houston Texans, O’Brien took a listing Nittany Lions ship that could’ve easily ran aground and sunk and instead navigated it to calmer waters amidst historic NCAA sanctions. O’Brien’s successor, James Franklin, has a program on much more solid footing than the one his predecessor took over.
As far as a replacement for Joyner, Northwestern’s Jim Phillips has been mentioned as a potential candidate. That said, a Phillips move to another school in the Big Ten seems highly unlikely.
UPDATED: 4:31 p.m. ET: Following up on the report earlier in the day, Penn State sent out a press release confirming Dave Joyner will resign as athletic director, effective Aug. 1. The release did note, however, that Joyner has offered to assist with the transition to a new AD beyond that date.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve Penn State,” Joyner said in a statement. “Our student athletes, coaches, staff and the University community were a daily source of inspiration for me. The spirit of Penn State is strong, and the department’s commitment to integrity, as well as academic and athletic excellence is stronger than ever.”
The release goes on to state that more information about the search for Penn State’s next athletic director will be released in the coming days as potential search committee members are notified and asked to serve.