STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Jay Paterno is leaving Penn State’s coaching staff after spending 17 years as an assistant under his father, Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno.
The younger Paterno worked the last 12 seasons as the quarterbacks coach. His departure was expected after the school last week named New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to succeed JoePa as head coach. Paterno was fired Nov. 9.
“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,” Jay Paterno said in a statement.
Jay Paterno said he and O’Brien spoke this week and the two “reached the conclusion” he would not be part of the new staff. He planned to take the next few weeks to consult his wife and family about options both inside and outside of football.
Helping his father and mother, Sue, deal with Joe Paterno’s treatments for lung cancer was also a priority. Joe Paterno’s spirits “are good and he continues to fight on,” Jay Paterno said in a phone interview Tuesday while cleaning out his office.
Meantime, he said “it will take some time think about what to do next.”
Jay Paterno also worked at Virginia, Connecticut and FCS school James Madison. He said he was privileged to have tutored players at his four coaching stops.
“As for Penn Staters, I cannot even begin to express what your support has meant to me and my family over the past seventeen seasons and in particular the past two months,” he said in the statement. “Through the tumult of the past several weeks, it has been your stalwart support combined with life lessons learned from Joe Paterno that has and continue to sustain us.”
School trustees ousted Joe Paterno two months ago in the aftermath of child sex abuse charges against retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
Joe Paterno testified before a state grand jury investigating Sandusky, and authorities have said he is not a target of the investigation.
Sandusky is awaiting trial after waiving a preliminary hearing last month. He has denied the charges.
O’Brien, who has returned to New England to finish up his duties through the NFL postseason, has indicated he would like to name his the bulk of his Penn State staff this week. The Patriots host the Broncos in the AFC divisional round this weekend.
By Tuesday afternoon, the only link to coaches’ biographies on the Penn State football roster website was for one for O’Brien.
Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, who applied for the head-coaching job while serving as Paterno’s interim replacement, is among other assistants from Paterno’s staff not expected to return. Secondary coach Kermit Buggs posted Tuesday on Twitter that he had been let go.
However, defensive line coach Larry Johnson will return, and linebacker Michael Mauti on Sunday indicated his position coach, Ron Vanderlinden was also expected to come back. Their returns should help Penn State with recruiting while O’Brien finishes up with the Patriots while also help the program maintain much of its regarded defensive identity under the new regime.
Tennessee Titans quality control assistant coach Charles London has also accepted an offer to join O’Brien’s staff as running backs coach, London has told The Tennessean of Nashville.
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