Penn State's Joe Paterno Replacement: Pres. Rodney Erickson Hears from an Alum

Roger SagerCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2017

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 12:  Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno statue stands alone before the Penn State against Nebraska football game at Beaver Stadium on November 12, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania. Head football coach Joe Paterno was fired amid allegations that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse. Penn State is playing their final home football game against Nebraska.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

President Erickson,

I am a 1973 graduate of The Pennsylvania State University. 

For 37 years myself and my best friend from Penn State (also a graduate) kept first six, and later 10 season tickets for Penn State football. 

Having done all this in his name, he rose to the 96th percentile in the Nittany Lion Club. 

I only mention this because if you do some quick math, it's easy to determine we have made substantial contributions to the university (not to mention countless other thousands of dollars spent at the university and in the community on all those football weekends). 

Like all members of the Penn State Nation, we have received the recent news and allegations with a combination of shock, dismay, horror and outrage.

To this point in time I have written friends and associates endorsing the steps taken by the Board of Trustees.  However, it was with great alarm that I have recently read of the university's intent to interview Tom Bradley for the position of head football coach after the bowl game has concluded.   


In addition to standing by the actions taken thus far by the university, I have with confidence believed (and stated to all who will listen) that the second the gun sounds ending whatever bowl game Penn State goes to, the entire coaching staff will be relieved of its duties. 

I have contended that must be the only possible course going forward and would have indeed been the immediate steps taken had there been any other possible way to allow this group of student athletes to complete their season.   

Anyone who has ever been part of any athletic family knows, like any family unit, there are seldom secrets that all members don't know and around which ranks are tightly closed to protect. 

Coach Paterno's staff was often cited for the incredible number of years most of its members have been associated with his program. 

I know nary a soul that doesn't think that all members of the coaching staff during Jerry Sandusky's tenure as a coach at Penn State were complicit in protecting the knowledge, the suspicions, the rumors or the whispers of his off-field activities, interests and actions.

From my personal standpoint I have to tell you that my anger reached its zenith while watching Tom Bradley be interviewed on the field after the Nebraska game when he took the position of a compassionate human being extolling his heartfelt sympathies to all the victims. 

In my living room I rose off the couch and screamed a series of expletives that concluded with "fraud!"

Bradley was Sandusky's right-hand man for years and years.  Do you think there is even the slightest chance he wasn't aware of what had been or was going on throughout that time?

And even if you have some doubt whether everyone connected to the current staff knew, it remains imperative that as a show of good intent the university dismiss everyone connected to the program. 

In war there is often collateral damage. 

Possibly, at the lowest levels, or amongst the most recent hires, a sweeping action of the type I suggest is necessary will catch a few people in the net who share none of the guilt or responsibility of what appears to have occurred. 

But the war analogy is applicable here, because what Penn State University must do to help restore a reputation that was built by so many thousands of people over almost a century and then impugned by the incredibly myopic decisions of a few is to act with bold, decisive measures.   

Interviewing current football staff members for future employment is not such a measure. 

At a time when every single move is "under the microscope" it seems a halting step in what thus far has been appropriate handling of this most regrettable situation.

Thank you,

Roger P. Sager