Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner to retire

Penn State announced Monday that David M. Joyner will remain as director of intercollegiate athletics through the remainder of president Rodney Erickson's term of office, which is expected to be June 2014. (Andy Colwell/AP file photo)

Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner, who took over at the height of outrage over the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal and hired the Nittany Lions’ last two head football coaches, announced Tuesday that he will retire from the university.

According to a Penn State news release, Joyner, a 1972 graduate of the university, has asked that his duties as athletic director end on Aug. 1.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve Penn State,” Joyner said in the release. “Our student athletes, coaches, staff and the university community were a daily source of inspiration to 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.”

Joyner had said that he would retire when president Rodney Erickson stepped down. Erickson was replaced by Eric J. Barron, who began his duties May 12.

“Dave did an outstanding job under very difficult circumstances,” Erickson said. “And the entire Penn State community owes him a debt of gratitude.”

Barron will name a search committee, to be chaired by university senior vice president for finance and business David Gray, to find Joyner’s successor.

“Dave Joyner has provided steady leadership to athletics … (and) I want to thank him for his hard work in upholding Penn State’s legacy of academic and athletic success," Barron said.

Quoting “industry sources,” the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that Penn State had interest in Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips.

Joyner, an orthopedic physician, was named acting director of athletics on Nov. 16, 2011, 11 days after athletic director Tim Curley took a leave of absence following his indictment on charges of perjury related to his testimony in the Sandusky grand jury investigation.

The appointment of Joyner, an outstanding football player and wrestler during his student days, was not met with enthusiasm because, as a member of the Penn State board of trustees, he was in the majority when the board voted to fire the iconic Joe Paterno as head football coach.

Joyner chaired the search committee that hired Bill O’Brien to replace Paterno as permanent head coach in January 2012, an appointment that turned out to be a popular one in light of the way O’Brien handled the sanctions handed down against the university by the NCAA.

After O’Brien left for the NFL Houston Texans, Joyner again led the committee that hired James Franklin last January. Franklin has impressed with his enthusiasm and his recruiting skills but has yet to coach a football game for the Nittany Lions.

--Joe Juliano