Blue White Illustrated

February 2022

Penn State Sports Magazine

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 59 of 67

6 0 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 2 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M DAWN OF A NEW ERA Early morning workouts were among the changes that Bill O'Brien brought to Penn State a decade ago T he winter of 2012 was a contentious time in Penn State history, with the Jerry Sandusky scandal continuing to unfold and the university community at odds over PSU's response. Some of those disputes persist to this day. But looking back, there is one area where both sides agree: Bill O'Brien saved the Penn State football program from a cataclysmic disaster as the head coach in 2012 and '13, and James Franklin resus- citated it when he took over as coach in 2014. When O'Brien became Joe Paterno's successor on Jan. 6, 2012, he never en- visioned taking over a program that was soon to be decimated by the NCAA. But Sandusky's arrest the previous No- vember had set in motion a chain of events that shocked the Penn State community. First came the firing of Paterno and later the discovery by his doctor that the long- time Nittany Lions coach had incurable lung cancer. On Nov. 21, seven weeks before the hir- ing of O'Brien, Penn State's board of trust- ees retained a consulting company run by former FBI director Louis Freeh to inves- tigate the athletics department's handling of the allegations against Sandusky. The 85-year-old Paterno died on Jan. 22 without saying much more publicly about the scandal than he had said after his firing and without talking to his suc- cessor. The day O'Brien was introduced as Penn State's new head coach, he was still serving as the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Patriots had a first-round bye on the weekend that O'Brien accepted the Penn State job, and they beat Denver the following week before edging Baltimore on Jan. 22 to win the AFC championship. L O U P R ATO | LOUPRATO@COMCAST.NET O'Brien invited the media to attend a mid-February workout outside of the Lasch Building that began at 5:15 a.m. Practices were mostly off-limits throughout the Paterno years. PHOTO BY TIM OWEN

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue White Illustrated - February 2022