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The Early Lead
Posted at 12:01 PM ET, 01/11/2012

Penn State assistant Jay Paterno leaving Nittany Lions as Bill O’Brien begins to construct staff


Jay Paterno will not be a part of Bill O’Brien’s staff at Penn State. (Jonathan Daniel - Getty Images)
Two months after the man who’s name became synonymous with Penn State football was fired by the scandal-ravaged university, the final link between Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions has been cut.

Paterno’s son, quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno, announced Wednesday that he will leave the program after 17 years as an assistant coach for his Hall of Fame father.

Last week, Penn State named New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien as the team’s new head coach, and the man bearing the heavy burden of beginning the process of rebuilding the program’s damaged image.

Jay Paterno said he spoke with O’Brien this week and that the two men “reached the conclusion” that he would not be a part of the new coaching staff.

“I wish the program the best of luck in carrying on the academic and athletic excellence that have been a hallmark of this university for decades,” Paterno said in a statement.

On Saturday O’Brien was introduced as the Nittany Lions’ first new head coach since Joe Paterno took the job in 1966. In his press conference, he acknowledged the legacy left behind by his predecessor.

“There will never be enough words to say what (Joe Paterno) did for this program as far as wins, as far as off the field graduating kids, graduating student-athletes every single year,” O’Brien said. “I can’t wait to meet him, and I look forward to that as soon as I can get that done.”

The response to O’Brien — who has no previous ties to Penn State — from within the school community and its expansive alumni base has been largely unenthusiastic, to say the least.

Former Penn State and Washington Redskins linebacker and Washington Post contributor LaVar Arrington was sharp in his initial criticism of the hiring process.

“I will put my Butkus [Award] in storage. I will put my Alamo Bowl MVP trophy in storage,” Arrington said, via Rivals.com. “Jerseys, anything Penn State, in storage. Wherever Tom Bradley goes, that's the school I will start to put memorabilia up in my home. I'm done. I'm done with Penn State. If they're done with us, I'm done with them.”

Arrington later backed down from his first reaction, but remains frustrated with the way the hiring was carried out.

“This hiring represents the board of trustee’s feeling toward all that has happened. In my opinion, the board has concluded that everyone and everything associated with the football team is guilty of a crime that we simply did not commit — and that’s wrong.”

MORE

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Penn State president to face alumni at town hall in Pittsburgh

Early Lead: Hiring process for Bill O’Brien upsets former players

Hard Hits: Penn State is wrong to turn its back on Joe Paterno

Paternos give $100K in annual gift to PSU for library, fellows program

Timeline: How Penn State scandal unfolded

By  |  12:01 PM ET, 01/11/2012

 
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