On Jay Paterno
I’d been wanting to write about Jay Paterno ’91 since I met him back in 2007, when I was covering the first Penn State Football Fantasy Camp for The Penn Stater. The idea finally came to fruition over this spring and summer, and my profile of Jay appears in our Sept/Oct issue—you can download a PDF of the feature here.
Two things had me convinced Jay would make an interesting subject for a feature. The first is that, among his college football coaching peers, he’s something of a renaissance man. He’s a writer, with a regular column on StateCollege.com and a couple of novels in the works. He’s also politically active, having stumped for Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign—and he hasn’t ruled out the possibility that he someday might run for office himself.
Mostly, though, I was intrigued by how polarizing a figure Jay is for a lot of Penn State football fans, particularly the small but vocal segment who can’t seem to stand him. Indirectly, those folks helped inspire the story, so it’s no surprise that some of them have strong opinions about the story itself. Over the past week or so, I’ve skimmed the messages boards on Blue White Illustrated, Fight on State and Lions 247, where our story was discussed in a handful of posts. To answer the most colorful accusation I found there: No, we were not “put up to” the story by the Paterno family—but it was fun to imagine Joe Paterno calling our office for something like that. Alas, I’m guessing he’s got better things to do.
Whether or not your thoughts on the subject are similarly conspiracy-minded, we’re curious what you think of the story, and the rest of the issue. Feel free to leave comments below, or on our Facebook page.
Almost forgot: The great shot of Jay walking in Beaver Stadium comes courtesy of Bill Cardoni, who shoots quite a bit for us. Needless to say, he’s a terrific photographer. You can find more of his work here.
Ryan Jones, senior editor