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Outgoing Penn State AD opens up about firing Paterno, hiring O’Brien

Earlier this week it was announced Penn State athletics director David Joyner will resign from his position. Joyner had never been much of a fan favorite, and the tales of his interactions with coaches and football players had been documented, including in the John Bacon book “Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football.” Joyner realizes why his image is tarnished to a certain extent, but he appears to not want to shoulder the responsibility for some of his actions as a member of the Penn State Board of Trustees and athletics director.

“I just think people have so many emotions tied up in how they feel about what went on that it interferes perhaps with some rational thought process,” Joyner said in a one-on-one interview with David Jones of The Patriot News. “And I don’t slight them for that; that’s not a criticism.”

What did Joyner mean by “what went on?” The firing of former head coach Joe Paterno, as the Jerry Sandusky scandal was ripping apart the program and university before a blitzkrieg of national media flocking in State College in November 2011.

“What happened with Joe and the Board and all the issues surrounding that,” Joyner explained. “You know, if you have a burr under your saddle, every time you move, it hurts, no matter what it is.”

Joyner’s critics ranged across the state of Pennsylvania. Penn State fans had been split as a result of the Sandusky crimes and to this day the healing as a community continues. Anger and outrage was directed at the leadership of the school, and that meant Joyner was a bit of a target as well after coming form the board. Joyner says he received plenty of criticisms for his actions from those who felt the entire Paterno portion of the fallout was mishandled, but he tried to suggest Paterno was never fired. Jones was not buying that.

From The Patriot News;

Joyner: “The folks that may have come up to me and said that they were upset that I was part of Joe’s – well, let’s clarify something, too: He wasn’t fired. He was not permitted to coach the last three games.

P-N: Oh, come on. And [former men's basketball coach] Jerry Dunn wasn’t fired either. Please. Stop it.

Joyner: “I understand. Having said that, people have come up to me and said some things. It’s happened in the grocery store. Not very often anymore. But when it would happen, I would just say, ‘I respect your right to that opinion.’”

Joyner was also charged with the task of hiring a new head coach. That job search led to the hiring of New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. O’Brien coached two seasons at Penn State, which were slammed with NCAA sanctions nobody quite expected later in the summer just before O’Brien got his head coaching gears in motion. O’Brien left to take a job as the head coach of the Houston Texans this offseason. Some felt O’Brien had issues with Penn State leadership, but Joyner suggests Penn State tried to give O’Brien everything the coach wanted.

“I’m not sure what he wanted that he didn’t get, to be honest with you,” Joyner said. “We tried every way we could to do everything we can. Not saying we can do everything. But we would talk very frequently about, hey, what do you need?”

Joyner will retire effect August 1 but has informed Penn State he will help with the transition as a new AD is brought in.

You can read the full interview with Joyner via The Patriot News.

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10 Responses to “Outgoing Penn State AD opens up about firing Paterno, hiring O’Brien”
  1. cometkazie says: Jun 22, 2014 11:25 AM

    The popcorn is popping . . .

  2. bigjdve says: Jun 22, 2014 11:35 AM

    I think that he wanted to not be at Penn State anymore.

    Just from the little bit, I am seeing about Joyner here, it is not hard to see why.

    It also looks as if PSU fired Paterno not because they thought he was guilty or wrong, but because they thought it would quiet the critics.

    That is wrong on many levels.

    Good Riddance.

  3. smokybandit says: Jun 22, 2014 11:35 AM

    Yeah, Paterno, the guy who received an official termination letter, wasn’t fired.

    Joyner is a liar just like the rest of them.

    Using the notion of a cover up to cover up a cover up. Brilliant.

  4. dkhhuey says: Jun 22, 2014 12:02 PM

    It appears the PSU lying in the chain of command continues! Color me shocked….

  5. dcroz says: Jun 22, 2014 4:24 PM

    The continued arrogance and ass-covering by those at the heart of the Sandusky scandal is mind-boggling. If Penn State ever wants to get past this sordid affair and start putting the tatters of its reputation as both a school and an athletics program back together, then it needs to clean house completely and get rid of anyone left who had anything to do with it. Until then, these egomanics are just ticking time bombs ready to open their mouth and say something incredibly stupid like this idiot just did, tearing open the scars Sandusky left behind and starting the bleeding anew.

  6. sjfotos says: Jun 22, 2014 8:14 PM

    I won’y bother to paste the link to Paterno’s TERMINATION letter. It is quite clear that he was fired and had to turn in all of the official Penn State equipment, including his ancient fax machine.

    So, yes, Dr. Joyner can believe what he wants, but no one is entitked to their own FACTS. He was fired and we have the letter to prove it.

  7. tommy57 says: Jun 23, 2014 5:43 AM

    Jones clearly had an agenda with his questions. And the little minds here will eat it up!

  8. cfballfan1 says: Jun 23, 2014 8:38 AM

    Joyner is a despicable character who continues to spin the web of lies by the PSU Board of Trustees regarding the handling of the Sandusky scandal. I wonder how much $$ they will pay him to keep his mouth shut in retirement?

  9. dietrich43 says: Jun 23, 2014 1:10 PM

    He can’t admit they fired Paterno? I could see if he tried to blame it on the board, or just say that they needed to make a move and he knew it wouldn’t be popular. But stop spinning your own story.

    I hated to see Paterno go out the way he did, I also don’t disagree with the decision.

  10. tdub821 says: Jun 23, 2014 2:14 PM

    Didn’t they move the statue of JoPa to the library? After all, we all know Joe knew how to keep everyone quiet.

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