On Jay Paterno

September 1, 2011 at 8:42 am 4 comments

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

Entry filed under: The Penn Stater Magazine. Tags: , , , .

It’s Game Week! Our Man Cardoni

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anthony Demangone  |  September 1, 2011 at 9:02 am


    That was a great story. (Admission: I went to school with Ryan and generally enjoy all of his writing.) Jay has a tough job. If he succeeds, he’s riding coattails. If he fails, he’s utterly incompetent. But the story clearly shows that he’s at peace with who he is and what he does. I sincerely doubt that would apply to many of the critics to seem to relish any opportunity to knock him down.

    – Anthony

  • 2. Joe Simonetta  |  September 1, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    This is an excellent piece on Jay Paterno. It is well written and very informative. It provides necessary insight about Jay for those who would judge him unfairly and without knowledge. Thank you for writing it.

    Joe Simonetta, PSU, ’66

  • 3. Our Man Cardoni « The Penn Stater Magazine  |  September 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    […] Jones mentioned in his post about Jay Paterno earlier today that we had hired Bill Cardoni to shoot the opening spread for our Sept/Oct profile […]

  • 4. Anonymous  |  September 23, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Please name one other coach (head or assistant) that write articles, novels, take part in political campaigns… during the season. Especially a season where their QB’s are a mess, the Offensive coaching staff is unorganized, and we are dead last in most categories (offense). I will wait for your response. Long live the status quo.

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