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From A to Z, the Penn State Sports Week That Was

by on January 21, 2013 1:00 AM

There’s a lot of good about Penn State athletics. A lot. And there’s a lot more than scandal, the NCAA and football, but as we are take a look back at the past week of Penn State sports in alphabetical order, there’s some of that too.

ALPACINOING: Brian DePalma will direct and Al Pacino will star in an upcoming movie based on Joe Posnanski’s book, “Paterno.” True: Jay Paterno says he wants to be played by Steve Buscemi, “that way if people see what I really look like, they’ll think I’m not so bad.”

BEARING: Nittany Lions football coach Bill O’Brien last week won the Bear Bryant Award as the 2012 “Coach of the Year,” giving Penn State bookends in the 27-year history of the award named after the late Alabama coach. The late Joe Paterno, who O’Brien succeeded, was the first winner of the award in 1986.

CHUMSING: In the stands at Saturday’s basketball game in the BJC were football defensive coordinator John Butler, who was talking with O’Brien, who was talking with athletic director Dave Joyner. It may be a bit defensive but see, they're talking.

DEANING: Twenty Penn State football players made the dean’s list in the 2012 fall semester released last week, earning a 3.5 grade point average or higher. Fifty players overall had a 3.0 or higher. I hope the “F” tight ends were not eponymous in the classroom.

EMMERTING: At the NCAA convention this week, president Mark Emmert did not mention Gov. Corbett’s lawsuit even once. He must have thought Lennay Kekua was going to handle it.

FILLING: Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia was filled to capacity with over 19,500 Penn State fans Saturday night, wildly cheering the Nittany Lions to victory. The sport was ice hockey (not football) and all hailed JoeBa (and rightfully so).

GOODWILL HUNTING: Women’s basketball coach Coquese Washington was named to the 18-person search committee for a new Penn State president, who is expected to be on board by July 1, 2014. Spare the Rod…

HIRING: Right now there are job openings in Penn State athletics for an assistant athletic director for ticketing & sales; a marketing manager who will oversee Pegula Ice Arena and community rink, men’s and women’s hockey, sports camps and the Penn State All-Sports Museum; a director of major gifts for Intercollegiate Athletics; and an assistant athletic director for the Nittany Lion Club.

IM’ING: The Intramural Building will get a $26.1 million facelift and expansion, which was approved by the Board of Trustees. The money will come from the $224 paid annually by University Park students (44,679 in fall 2012) in facilities fees. You do the math. (OK, I will: that’s $10,008,096.)

JUMPERING: Washington’s women’s hoops team is ranked No. 8 in the country with a 14-2 and 4-0 record. The Lady Lions play Monday at Michigan – Washington was going to be at the game no matter how you look at it; she considered “transferring” to Michigan in the offseason.

KEITHMASSERING: He is the new president of the Board of Trustees who was elected on Friday. He may be the head of a potato empire, but he’s no doubt in a pickle.

LEARFIELDING: With five Big Ten championships, Penn State is No. 8 in the 2012-13 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup final fall standings announced last week. Only three Division I schools had two fall teams advance to the NCAA semifinals, with the Nittany Lions' women's soccer and women's volleyball doing so. A fifth-place finish by field hockey and a 14th by women’s cross country by Penn State were big boosts.

MITCHELLING: NCAA monitor Sen. George Mitchell praised Penn State for its implementation of NCAA policies and procedures as required by the organization. And he found no evidence of steroid use, either.

NaVORROING: Former Penn State linebacker NaVorro Bowman’s clutch final-minutes pass defense against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday night catapulted his team, the San Francisco 49ers to a 28-24 victory and a berth in the Super Bowl. Two words: Linebacker U.

OLD MAINING: Not quite athletics, but Penn State is searching for a vice president for communications and marketing for the overall university. The position is currently vacant, so it's not really a new Old Main job.

PICKING: Lady Lions Christine Nairn and Maddy Evans were selected in the inaugural NWSL Draft the other day. Nairn, picked seventh overall, is a finalist for the Hermann Trophy. She is a diligent student of the game, and I guarantee she worked just as hard in the classroom.

QUASHING: Cael Sanderson’s No. 1 ranked wrestling team beat Purdue, 35-3, over the weekend to go 7-0. The Nittany Lions are 37-3 in four Big Ten dual meets and have outscored the opposition 164-9. Hope whoever gave up the nine have to face the head coach in the mat room.

REMEMBERING: Tuesday marks the one-year passing of Paterno, who died of lung cancer a few months after the Sandusky scandal hit. My favorite story I wrote about Joe was concerning the coach and Penn State’s students. His relationship was genuine, very special and something both he and the student body cherished over many decades.

SPANNING: Graham Spanier had a front row seat at Penn State’s basketball game Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center. He’s no longer president and has been charged with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected child abuse and conspiracy.

TEO’ING: In class on Friday, we threw out the syllabus and talked about Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o, discussing both the dollars and nonsense of what they did. Matt Fortuna, a Penn State grad embedded in South Bend covering Notre Dame for, will Skype in on class on Wednesday. Skyping once in awhile would have saved Te'o a lot of trouble.

UPLIFTING ATHLETES: Kudos to offensive lineman Eric Shrive for being nominated for a national award for his charity work with Uplifting Athletes. He’s a big man in more ways than one.

(NORMAN)VINCENTPEALE'ING: You gotta love Patrick Chambers. His Nittany Lions missed five free throws down the stretch to lose to Nebraska, but he’s still kinda upbeat: "I don't know if you guys see it, but I see progress with certain players. But we need to continue that progress.” Not the kind of optimism we’re used to hearing in those situations.

WALSHING: Lady Lions soccer coach Erica Walsh, who led her team to the NCAA championship game in the fall, on Friday was named by her peers as coach of the year. That must be a real kick.

(LA)XING: Ed Franks is the new director of Penn State Sports Camps, which annually host 20,000 campers in 25 sports – including lacrosse. His last stop was Emporia State. He’s not in Kansas any more.

YEARNING: Seventeen days until National Letter of Intent Day for football. Sanctions could make this a real Dickens for O’Brien – the best of times, possibly the worst of times.

ZAMBONI’ING: The NHL is back and in honor of the Flyers-Penguins game on Saturday, kids in my class on Friday could earn bonus points by wearing garb of their favorite team, with extra points if their team won. It’s a decidedly Philly class. The final tally: Flyers 42, Penguins 24. The winner of a water bottle for best outfit was a woman who had painted Flyer fingernails.


Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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