Posts tagged ‘Mike Poorman’
If there’s been a silver lining in the difficult last 14 months on campus, it’s been the abundance of teachable moments provided by the Sandusky scandal and its fallout. That’s a cliche (and one I normally try to avoid), but hey, this is a university, right? Everything should be fodder for learning.
Mike Poorman ’82 has made the most of those opportunities since the scandal broke. A journalist and longtime faculty member in the College of Communications, Mike created and taught the famous “JoePa” class, and he’s been tying the scandal into his teaching since the week the story broke. He continues to do so in his new class, Comm 170: Introduction to the Sports Industry.
I dropped in on Mike’s class Friday, when the guest speaker was none other than Jay Paterno ’91. For these students, a mix of communications majors who might end up in journalism, public relations, broadcasting, marketing, or who knows what else, it was a rare look at the process of sports business—which, for the media companies that hosted Jay in more than two dozen interviews in the past five days, is exactly what this is about. Jay talked honestly about how he and his family decided which TV and radio shows to speak to in their recent media blitz, and how to approach each: understanding the demographics of each show’s audience, preparing for each host’s interview style (agreeable or aggressive? rational or emotional?), and tailoring the family’s message to each.
I’m not sure all of the 75 or so students fully appreciated the insights Jay had to offer; it was a Friday afternoon, of course, and the start of THON was just a few hours away. But I think those who were paying attention learned a bit about what goes on behind the curtain, both for the folks with a financial stake in the multi-billion-dollar business of sport, and for the folks hoping to use the media to tell their story or make their case. In this story, the teachable moments don’t cease.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
There’s a nice story this morning from the AP quoting Scott Paterno ’97, ’00 about his father’s thoughts and mood in the final days of his life. It likely won’t surprise Penn Staters to hear that Joe’s mind was sharp and his spirit strong even as his body failed him. “He was so positive and so confident at the end of his life that the things that were important about this place would endure,” Scott said. “And that’s why he was at peace. That, and (that) my mother was willing to put up with him all these years.”
Two stories today speak to Joe’s love for Penn State, and its students in particular. Mike Poorman ’82 writes at StateCollege.com about the countless interactions Paterno had with undergrads during his time in Happy Valley. Poorman, who taught “Joe Paterno, Communications & The Media” for four years in the College of Communications, took informal polls each semester and tallied the numbers:
“Out of nearly 250 kids in class from 2008-2011, 107 had a personal JoePa moment. We’re not talking football games or pep rallies or THON appearances, all awe-inspiring for tens of thousands of students. We’re talking students being invited into Joe’s house after singing carols, or sitting down at the Creamery with a Peachy Paterno ice cream cone while the treat’s namesake did the same.”
It’s a terrific piece.
There’s never been any doubt how students felt about Paterno. That admiration will be reflected Wednesday with a student-organized “Guide Joe Paterno Home” event encouraging all Penn Staters to line the route of the funeral procession Wednesday afternoon as it leaves the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center for the private burial service. Onward State has details here, and there’s a Facebook group set up as well.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
UPDATE, 1:20 p.m.: Here’s what Mike Munchak told the Tennesseean newspaper on Wednesday:
“I have a great deal of respect for Penn State and I hope they find a great coach there,” Munchak said. “But I am happy where I’m at. I love my alma mater, but I have no interest in being the head coach at Penn State. I never want to leave Tennessee.”
Munchak said he’s never talked to anyone at the school about the coaching search.
Our original post appears below.
The chatter around Penn State’s football-coach search has heated up in the past few days, and most of it centers on the possibility that Mike Munchak ’82 is the choice.
Munchak, a star offensive lineman under Joe Paterno, has been with the Tennessee Titans (and its predecessor team, the Houston Oilers) for 30 years as a player and coach. He is in his first season as the team’s head coach.
Mike Poorman ’82 of writes at StateCollege.com writes here that Munchak could be named soon—though Poorman says a lot seems to depend on how soon the Titans’ season ends. If Tennessee makes the playoffs, that could complicate things.
Dave Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News has a similar take, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Ron Musselman says here that sources have told him, too, that Munchak is the search committee’s top choice.
There’s still talk, however, that Penn State could attract Boise State coach Chris Petersen; a Philadelphia news site called philly2philly.com examined that possibility in a story yesterday morning.
Munchak was a first-round draft choice of the Houston Oilers in 1982 and has been with the franchise ever since. He spent 12 years as a player, earned nine Pro Bowl invitations, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001. He was offensive line coach from 1997–2010, and was named head coach last February.
He has denied that he’s a candidate for the Penn State job.
Tina Hay, editor
After a night of wandering downtown State College and campus, sadly reporting on the riots that followed the firing of Joe Paterno (the resignation of president Graham Spanier didn’t seem to be on anyone’s mind), I got up this morning, and I went to class.
Mike Poorman ’82 developed and teaches COMM 497G, “Joe Paterno: Communications and the Media,” and this semester’s section conveniently meets Thursday mornings at 9:45. I sat in the back row, a few seats a way from a couple of current football players who are enrolled in the class, and listened to two of sports journalism’s best, Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated and Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports, speak about how the media has covered the sexual abuse charges against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky ’66, ’71g, the perjury charges against athletic director Tim Curley ’76, ’78g and acting vice president Gary Schultz ’71, ’75g, and the ensuing events.
Said Posnanski, who’s been living in town to write a biography of Paterno, “I’ve never been around a story that has changed as fast as this one.”
Said Forde, who parachuted in after the LSU–Alabama game last weekend to jump on the story, “I packed for two days and this is Day 4, with Days 5 and 6 to come. I might be running around here in gym shorts soon.”
The students asked good questions, including (more…)
Got a great email this morning from Janice Fink, our counterpart at the University of Alabama alumni magazine, who was incredibly helpful last year when we were looking for some guidance on things to see and do in Tuscaloosa. Janice is a central Pennsylvania native who used to work at Penn State, leaving her with happily mixed loyalties in the football rivalry that renews Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Here’s what Janice wrote:
Wishing everybody in Happy Valley an exciting football weekend! I can’t be there in person, but many, many of my friends and co-workers are on their way—sure hope they make it through the floods. It’s hard to describe the level of excitement leading up to our visit to Joe’s House. When he stepped onto our field last year, the roar from the crowd was the loudest I’ve ever heard. As you might remember, I’m from central Pa. and worked for Penn State in marketing for a couple of years. Who do I cheer for? Well to attend last year’s game I sewed together a two-sided jersey combining a UA shirt with a PSU one, carefully configured so that it reads “Pennbama.” Although I’ll only be joining y’all via the airwaves this year, I’ll be rooting for everybody on the field, wearing my crimson and blue. :)
The loyalties of most of us watching Saturday won’t be so ambiguous, of course, (more…)
It’s generally pretty tough to find college basketball stories in early June, but there’s been some awfully good stuff written about Patrick Chambers, Penn State’s new coach. Here’s a selection of some of our favorites:
Dave Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News provides some excellent analysis (as always) in this column, and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Ford weighs in with this piece. And Mike Poorman of StateCollege.com takes a truly original angle here.
And it wasn’t just local media. My former colleague at The Daily Collegian, Dana O’Neil, who now covers college basketball for ESPN.com, weighs in here on why she thinks Penn State’s hire is a good one. Mike DeCourcey of The Sporting News is equally impressed in this piece. And here’s Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo, detailing how getting stabbed was the first step in Chambers’ journey to Penn State.
One final link: The take from Boston, where Chambers had been coaching at Boston University.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
I’ll be on my way shortly to Beaver Stadium for Penn State’s annual preseason football media day, where I can guarantee a few things will happen: Joe Paterno will be asked (repeatedly) about his health; Joe Paterno will say (repeatedly) that it’s too early too know much about his football team: Joe Paterno will downplay (repeatedly) his team’s chances this season.
Joe’s occasional predictability aside, media day is a great chance to hear from coaches and players and get a sense of the team’s mindset just three weeks shy of the season opener. I’ll have more on media day Friday morning, but for now, here are a few links that touch on some of the preseason’s biggest questions:
-Who’s the man? Mike Poorman ’82 at StateCollege.com breaks down an apparently wide-open quarterback race, shedding particular light on the challenge faced by a schedule that includes three top-10 opponents.
-How is Joe? Bob Flounders at PennLive.com knows that Joe Paterno’s health will be on everybody’s mind today, and perhaps all season long.
-Can these guys stay healthy? A leg injury suffered this week by sophomore wideout Curtis Drake was a blow to the Lions’ preseason preparation. A number of players are coming back from substantial injuries suffered last year, and with a lack of proven depth in key positions (including linebacker and the offensive line), keeping the rest of the roster healthy will be key.
I’ll have more on Friday morning.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Mike Poorman ’82 has a cool piece this week on StateCollege.com about Andrew Pitz ’09, the Nittany Lions’ longsnapper last season (and Mike’s former intern) attending a special-teams camp in Arizona. Pitz is hoping the extra work on his skills, combined with his perfect record last season (when he didn’t botch a snap, including the hike that set up the game-winning field goal at the Capital One Bowl) will earn him a shot at the NFL. Like all of Mike’s stuff, it’s a fun read.
Bonus: Mike’s story gives us an excuse to re-run the goofy little video feature we did with Andrew last summer, at Penn State’s annual preseason media day.
You can see why we’re rooting for this kid.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Mike Poorman ’82 teaches a class in the College of Communications called “Joe Paterno, Communications & the Media,” and its focus is exactly what the name implies. For obvious reasons, Mike only teaches the class during the fall semester, allowing the 60-some students in his class to crowd into the Beaver Stadium media room and take in a live Paterno press conference. Yesterday, his current class took its turn.
The topic that dominated a good chunk of this week’s media session was Penn State’s scheduling of lower-division opponent Eastern Illinois in what should amount to a mid-season walkover this Saturday at Beaver Stadium. A local beat writer put Joe on the spot about the scheduling decision, and Paterno responded with some prepared notes — if not a first, then certainly a rarity for the veteran coach. Poorman has covered a few hundred of Joe’s Tuesday pressers, so it’s notable when he points out that “there’s never been anything” quite like yesterday’s exchange.
Mike found it a terrific teaching opportunity, and he turned it into an enlightening column — including perspective on Joe’s rhetorical approach, and the text of that contentious play-by-play between Paterno and the reporter — all of which you can read here.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Thursday was Penn State’s annual preseason Football Media Day. The weather was gorgeous (a rarity in Happy Valley this summer), giving the 100 or so attending media a chance to mingle outdoors with a roughly equal number of Nittany Lion players and coaches. Potential All-Americans like Daryll Clark, Evan Royster, and Sean Lee were the obvious draw for most of the reporters, but Media Day is also a great chance to catch up with some of the lesser-known Lions.
I met Andrew Pitz ’09 earlier this summer; he was interning in the College of Communications for Mike Poorman ’82, a good friend who directs the college’s alumni relations. Andrew seemed like a great kid (not to mention a smart one — he was a first-team Academic All-American last year), so when I ran into him yesterday on the immaculate practice fields next to the Lasch Football Building, I said hello. Then I decided he’d be a great candidate on which to try out our Flip Cam, which we’ve been meaning to put to use for the blog.
Andrew laughed when I pulled out the camera, joking that he’d made a bet with himself about how many media members would actually want to talk to the long-snapper — his guess was “no more than three.” When I wasn’t interviewing his teammates, I kept the camera trained on Pitz to find out just how popular he was.
A few things you’ll notice: One, Andrew doesn’t take himself too seriously (if you listen closely, you might be able to hear senior linebacker Josh Hull whistle at Pitz as he walks by, around the :13 mark). And two, I’m still perfecting the art of Flip Cam directing. Hopefully I’ll get better.
Ryan Jones, senior editor