- Associated Press - Saturday, November 19, 2011

COLUMBUS, OHIO (AP) - Saying his job right now is to “keep this ship going,” Penn State’s acting athletic director said Saturday that he and the university are formulating a plan to search for a permanent head football coach.

Speaking in the press box at Ohio Stadium just before the start of Saturday’s game between the No. 21 Nittany Lions and Ohio State, David Joyner said he will be the primary person to design the search but will consult with the university’s new president, Rod Erickson.

“We’re going to decide on that structure very soon,” Joyner said.

Asked if there would be a search committee to find candidates, he added, “That’s usually the way it’s done.”

Penn State is still reeling from a scandal involving former defensive assistant coach Jerry Sandusky who allegedly molested eight boys. Joe Paterno, the Nittany Lions’ football coach since 1966, was fired in the aftermath of Sandusky’s arrest two weeks ago. Other administrators, including former president Graham Spanier, also lost their jobs.

“We’ve been in a whirlwind, everything going at once,” Joyner said. “We’ve all lost people in our lives. First and foremost the tragedy of the victims is like a loss. I’ve said to people we’ve been in a funeral for . how long has it been, two weeks almost, isn’t it? I think we’re in a period of mourning now.”

Tom Bradley, previously the defensive coordinator, is serving as interim coach, though his chances of getting the job permanently are not considered great. There have been numerous calls for Penn State to start fresh with an entirely new staff.

Joyner said it will be primarily his responsibility to determine the best way to hire a coach.

“That’ll be mostly my decision but with counsel with Dr. Erickson, the president, and then obviously we have lots of resources to talk to,” he said.

Joyner said not much has been discussed about finding a new athletic director in the near future because of other, more pressing, matters.

“We really haven’t had the conversation about the athletic director at this point because my job right now is to keep this ship going. And so, that’s the next step,” he said. “The most acute phase is we’ve got to get our folks back, as far as the whole university, so we’re not separate. We’re part of that. And we’ve got to do that and continue to be respectful and reverent for those who were severely injured.”

He added, “The third order is the business of football. … and in that the most acute thing is obviously getting a head coach.”

Joyner said it was important for Penn State and the community to heal.

“We’ve got to get about our business and you have to get up and you have to go to work,” he said. “And we’re beginning to do that. You never forget, but we’re getting back to business.”

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