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Sue Paterno issues statement on dropping of NCAA lawsuit

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The Paterno family has dropped its lawsuit against the NCAA, a lawsuit that NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy excoriated in a statement.

“The Paterno family characterized this case as a ‘search for the truth,’” Remy said. “Its decision today, after years of investigation and discovery, to abandon its lawsuit rather than subject those facts to courtroom examination is telling.  We believe that the powerful record developed during discovery overwhelmingly confirmed what the NCAA has believed all along: the NCAA acted reasonably in adopting the conclusions of an eight-month investigation by Louis Freeh.”

Sue Paterno has issued a statement of her own on behalf of the family and her late husband, naturally, disagreeing with Remy’s conclusions about Freeh’s conclusions. Read the full statement below, courtesy of Onward State.

 

For more than half a century Joe and I were honored to represent Penn State. We always knew this place was special and we were determined to help it grow into the world-class institution it is today.

In the fallout from the Sandusky tragedy and the subsequent mishandling of the investigation by the Board and Louis Freeh, I was determined to do everything in my power to defend the honor of Penn State and set the record straight on Joe. Although the fight has been long and difficult, enormous progress has been made. The unprecedented sanctions imposed on the university were reversed. The wins, which were unjustly stripped from the players, were reinstated.  And even Mr. Freeh has stated under oath that his many alleged “findings” were, in fact, merely his opinions.

Out of the ashes of that widely discredited report, I sought to help other communities become safer – to help them to see that which we missed and to help prevent future similar tragedies.  That is why I commissioned Jim Clemente to draft a report on how predators in every community operate.  It is my continued hope that people will read his report and educate themselves on the signs.  Every day, all over the country, we are reminded of the need.  As Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon noted recently, “”it is virtually impossible to stop a determined sexual predator and pedophile,” a reality faced by every community and one whose tragic effects are felt daily.  That is why Joe felt learning from this tragedy was so important that the last thing he wrote in his own hand was that – God willing – there would be a silver lining of greater awareness to this societal problem.

Joe was a man of integrity who didn’t fear the truth, but rather embraced it. And this is why he urged the administration to slow down and conduct an objective, independent and thorough investigation. I think almost everyone agrees this is what should have happened, and, as Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s independent report recently noted, did not happen. Through the last five years, and over three years of litigation, we learned what such a careful investigation would have found: that Joe never interfered in any investigation; that he properly reported the one account brought to him; that there was no conspiracy or any attempt at a cover up; and that Joe followed university and NCAA procedure to the letter.  Joe has never been accused of any crime and all testimony supports that he followed the law and policy at all times.

It has been a tremendous personal strain to undertake an effort that never should have been needed in the first place. During these difficult times, I’ve been inspired by the unwavering support of the students and alumni of Penn State. With their devotion and energy I’m confident the university’s future will be brighter than ever.

Our goal has always been to uncover and make transparent the full truth.  We have done all we can in this litigation to achieve that end and the furtherance of it beyond this point will not yield anything new, which is why I have decided to end my litigation with the NCAA.

I love Penn State. My family and I don’t confuse the misguided actions of a few with the intent of the university as a whole. I am grateful for the extraordinary support my family and I have received from our friends in State College and throughout the Penn State community. This great university has been, and will continue to be, very important to me.

With former Penn State executives Graham SpanierTim Curley and Gary Schultz sentenced by the Pennsylvania courts and the Paterno-NCAA lawsuit now officially a thing of the past, it seems now, six years later, the dust is finally settling around the Jerry Sandusky-Penn State scandal.

It’s about time.

Arkansas kicker Cole Hedlund reportedly transfers to North Texas

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And you can pardon the whole of the state of Arkansas if they let out a collective “thank goodness.”

Citing multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, Brett Vito of the Denton Record-Chronicle is reporting that Cole Hedlund is transferring to North Texas.  After redshirting as a true freshman in 2014 at Arkansas, Hedlund spent the next three seasons as a placekicker for the Razorbacks.

The Argyle, Tex., native opted to transfer from UA for his final season of eligibility.  He’s the youngest son of UNT women’s soccer coach John Hedlund.

For his career with the Razorbacks, Hedlund hit on 14 of his 24 field goal attempts.  He also connected on all 91 extra point attempts.  His best season came in 2015 when he led the team in scoring with 85 points.

The past season, however, was a rough one.  After missing both field goal attempts in a Sept. 9 loss to TCU — the misses came from 20 and 23 yards out — Hedlund never attempted another kick for the Razorbacks the rest of the season.

“It was basically a PAT, and it was a perfect protection and a perfect snap. It’s inexcusable,” then-head coach Bret Bielema said at the time.

Longtime BYU defensive assistant Steve Kaufusi steps down

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A constant on BYU’s defensive staff for nearly two decades has taken himself out of the football program’s equation.

The Cougars announced Friday that Steve Kaufusi has stepped down from his post as linebackers coach.  Per the school, Kaufusi’s departure was triggered by his desire to pursue other unspecified interests.

Kaufusi, whose wife Michelle is the mayor of Provo and has two sons who will play for the Cougars this season, had spent the past 16 seasons with BYU.  From 2002-16, he coached the defensive line; he took over linebackers in 2017 and spent one season overseeing that position.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to coach at BYU for the past 16 seasons,” Kaufusi said. “I’m honored to have had the opportunity to represent the University and everything it stands for. I will always be a Cougar and look forward to watching my sons play at BYU.”

“Anyone who knows Steve knows he is an exceptional coach and mentor to young men, which you can see in the players he has coached over the years and also in his own family,” head coach Kalani Sitake said. “I wish Steve nothing but the best for his future.”

In tandem with the Kaufusi announcement, the program also confirmed that Preston Hadley has been hired.  Hadley, who played defensive back for the Cougars and coached at Weber State the past two seasons, will coach safeties in his return.

Ed Lamb, who was responsible for safeties, will take over Kaufusi’s linebackers.  All other coaches on the defensive side of the ball will maintain their current positions.

Michigan State promotes Mike Tressel to DC, adds ex-Kent State HC as DBs coach

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Mark Dantonio looked inside and out of his football program to fill some holes in his Michigan State staff.

Nearly two weeks ago, Harlon Barnett left as MSU’s co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach to take a job at Florida State.  That left Dantonio with two openings, one of which the head coach closed Friday by promoting Mike Tressel to defensive coordinator.

Tressel and Barnett had served as co-coordinators the past three seasons; the nephew of former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel will now serve as the Spartans’ solo coordinator moving forward.

“Mike has done a tremendous job working with the defense,” said Dantonio in a statement. “He’s been deeply involved with everything with the defense since we first arrived here, and has helped coach some championship defenses that have been ranked consistently among the best in the nation, year in and year out. He did a great job as co-coordinator the past three years. He’s certainly earned this opportunity and I think he’ll do an outstanding job.”

To replace Barnett as defensive backs coach, Dantonio turned to Paul Haynes.  The past five years, Haynes was the head coach at Kent State before being dismissed at the end of the 2017 regular season.

This serves as a homecoming of sorts for Haynes as well.  From 2003-04, he was the defensive backs coach for the Spartans under John Smith.

The 48-year-old Haynes has also been a secondary coach at Arkansas (2012), Ohio State (2005-10), Louisville (2002) and Kent State (1999).

“We’re very, very excited about Paul,” said Dantonio. “He’s coached here before so he’s got a Spartan background. He was secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State, so he’s coached on the highest level with the secondary. He was a defensive coordinator at Arkansas as well. He’s been a head coach at Kent State, so I think that gives him a big picture feel. I think he’s an excellent recruiter. He’s a dynamic person as well, so we’re excited to have him on campus.”

Willie Taggart finalizes first Florida State coaching staff

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Exactly 45 days after being announced as Florida State’s new head coach, Willie Taggart has put the finishing touches on his first Seminoles staff.

Friday night, FSU confirmed that Taggart has completed his 10-man staff with the additions of five new assistants.  It was reported this week that Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell would be taking the same job at FSU; the school confirmed as much today, with Bell also taking over as quarterbacks coach.

The other four hires consisted of Greg Frey (offensive line/running-game coordinator), David Kelly (wide receivers/recruiting coordinator), Mark Snyder (defensive ends) and Alonzo Hampton (special teams coordinator).

That fivesome joins the other five assistants previously announced:

  • Harlon Barnett, defensive coordinator and defensive back
  • Odell Haggins, associate head coach and defensive tackles
  • Raymond Woodie, linebackers
  • Telly Lockette, tight ends
  • Donte’ Pimpleton, running backs

Haggins is the lone holdover from Jimbo Fisher‘s last staff.

“From the beginning of this process, my goal was to bring in the best coaches for our program and I believe we have done that,” Taggart said. “This group will do a great job of recruiting, developing, coaching and mentoring our student-athletes to reach their highest potential. I’m excited for the next few weeks as we are finalizing our 2018 signing class and then working with our team as we prepare for spring practice.”