With the hiring of Bill O'Brien, Penn State has officially closed the door on the Joe Paterno era. It was an era that saw the university grow into one of the most storied football programs in the country, only to be abruptly ended by a terrible scandal involving a former coach.
As an alumni and a season ticket holder, I've had mixed feelings since that terrible day in November when Paterno was fired before all of the facts had been gathered. The alleged actions of Jerry Sandusky are reprehensible and the fact that there was a cover up by people in power makes it even worse. It's just unfortunate that a legendary figure in college football had to take the fall.
In the months since Paterno's firing I have come to peace with the fact that Penn State needs to move on from this terrible situation and start fresh. That means clearing out the old regime and starting over with a fresh perspective. Keeping Paterno around would have meant always facing questions about the scandal.
O'Brien's hiring has caused a huge backlash from alumni and former players. Most are upset that a "Penn State guy" was not hired. I am ok with someone from the "outside" being hired, I would have just preferred a coach with a more impressive college resume. Former linebacker Lavarr Arrington stated that he is done with Penn State and will be getting rid of all of his Penn State memorabelia. According to Arrington, "We are Penn State is no more for me."
I am appalled at the statements from Arrington. I can understand his anger at the situation and feeling that the Univeristy Board is blaming the wrong people. But how can he turn his back on the university that made him who he is? In this trying time, it is imperative that all Penn State alumni and fans unite together. The student athletes who will be wearing the famed blue and white in the coming years had nothing to do with what went on in the past.
Bill O'Brien and the new staff will be burdened with the task of restoring "Penn State Pride" and rebuilding the motto of "Success with Honor."
Though I may not agree with the way everything went down at Penn State, I will still proudly wear my blue and white and cheer loudly from section NC on Saturday afternoons this Fall.
For now and forever... We Are Penn State!!