As Penn State University appears set to name New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien the successor to Joe Paterno, former Nittany Lions players appear to be in open revolt. O’Brien has no experience as a head coach at either the NFL or college football level, and has absolutely no ties to Happy Valley, and the alumni—especially those who played for Paterno during his 46 year tenure—aren’t happy.
Nate Bauer of BlueWhiteIllustrated.com has a report with comments from a number of former stars, including All Americans LaVarr Arrington, Brandon Short and D.J. Dozier. "I will put my Butkus (Award) in storage. I will put my Alamo Bowl MVP trophy in storage," Arrington said. "Jerseys, anything Penn State, in storage. Wherever Tom Bradley goes, that's the school I will start to put memorabilia up in my home. I'm done. I'm done with Penn State. If they're done with us, I'm done with them."
Short: "I don't want to be affiliated with the university if they don't choose a Penn State guy because of our standards, our graduation, all the things that have been important... it's no longer Penn State, so we might as well be in the SEC. They are intent on turning it into a booster culture.”
The football alumni also say that no one involved in the search for Paterno’s successor has reached out to or consulted with them at any part of the process. There is perhaps no tighter community than the Penn State alumni, and the failure of the administration to even keep them in the loop looks like a decision that’s going to have a lot of very hot blowback.
The ESPN report cites “sources” and says that the terms of the deal are not yet known, which means that the deal isn’t done yet. Defensive coordinator Tom “Scrap” Bradley has served as the interim head coach since Paterno’s dismissal and remains the favorite of the alumni and prominent boosters.
We'll see if interim athletic director David Joyner and interim President Rodney Erickson stick to their guns and go through with hiring an unpopular O’Brien over the apparent fan, alumni and booster favorite Bradley.
The decision needs to be wrapped up quickly, as national signing day is now less than four weeks away and the new coach has a lot of ground to recover on the recruiting trail.