Joyner to step down as Penn State athletic director [Centre Daily Times (State College, Pa.) :: ]
(Centre Daily Times (State College, PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) June 17--UNIVERSITY PARK -- Dave Joyner, who became Penn State's athletic director at the height of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, helped steer the department through historic sanctions and hired two head football coaches in as many years, is stepping down from his job.
Joyner's retirement is effective Aug. 1, and the university will begin a national search for his successor, Penn State said in a statement Tuesday.
"It has been an honor and privilege to serve Penn State," Joyner said in a prepared 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."
Penn State President Eric Barron will name a search committee to work with Collegiate Sports Associates, an executive search and consulting firm based in North Carolina, to recruit the next athletic director, the statement said.
David Gray, senior vice president for Finance and Business at Penn State, will chair the committee.
"Dave Joyner has provided steady leadership to Athletics for nearly three years," Barron said in the statement. "I want to thank him for his hard work in upholding Penn State's legacy of academic and athletic success."
In his brief tenure as athletic director, Joyner was tasked with finding the successor for legendary football coach Joe Paterno, who was fired by the university in the aftermath of the Sandusky scandal. His hire, Bill O'Brien, had success at Penn State despite the historic NCAA sanctions levied against the university and left for the NFL after the 2013 season.
Joyner then landed former Vanderbilt University coach James Franklin, who was considered by many to be the most desirable candidate for vacant college coaching jobs this year.
Joyner was named AD in November 2011 after Tim Curley was placed on administrative leave during the Sandusky fallout. Curley and two other former top administrators, Gary Schultz and Graham Spanier, face charges for allegedly covering up child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky and are awaiting trial in Dauphin County Court.
In January 2013, Penn State removed the "acting" tag from Joyner's title and said he would continue to serve in that role through the end of Rodney Erickson's time as president. After that, the university said, a national search would be conducted for the position, though Joyner wasn't ruled out as a candidate. Erickson retired in May.
The Chicago Tribune has reported that Penn State reached out to Northwestern University Athletic Director Jim Phillips. Sources told the newspaper that might be a difficult sell, as Phillips could be reluctant to leave his current job.
Penn State's statement Tuesday said more information about the search would be released in the coming days.
"We will be seeking candidates who have demonstrated a thorough understanding of NCAA rules and have a track record of success in meeting compliance standards," Barron said. "They also must have a commitment to academic integrity, and the academic progress and graduation of student-athletes."
Barron, at his introductory news conference earlier this year, revealed a bit of his philosophy on the potential hire.
"The truth of the matter is," Barron said, "I like to have a really strong AD who's (an) expert, who understands compliance, who understands scheduling, who understands how to attract a coach, who works hard to make sure that student-athletes are successful, with the student being a very important part of that hyphenated word."
At Florida State, Barron removed his athletic director, Randy Spetman, in July because he wanted the athletic department to follow a model with "very business-oriented as well as truly athletic-oriented people."
Although Joyner has had success with his football coach hires, he also has been criticized in the Penn State community.
Some were critical of how Joyner got the job. He was a former member of the university's board of trustees and was given the position without a search.
Joyner was an orthopedic physician based in Hummelstown at the time of his appointment, but his ties to Penn State athletics were deep.
He's a former Penn State wrestler and football player who was an All-American offensive tackle in 1971 under Paterno. Joyner's two sons, Matt and Andy, played for Paterno and Penn State in the 1990s.
Before he became AD, but while he was a trustee, Joyner was involved in the search for wrestling coach Troy Sunderland's replacement and was part of the group that lured Cael Sanderson from Iowa State to State College. Sanderson has coached the Nittany Lion wrestlers to four straight NCAA team titles.
As AD, he helped keep women's basketball coach Coquese Washington, fresh off a Big Ten Coach of the Year award, in State College by signing her to a five-year extension after she had interviewed for a vacant job at Michigan in 2012.
Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.
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