The Penn Stater Daily — Jan. 2, 2014

January 2, 2014 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

Signs of Change: On my walk to campus this morning—our first day back after the winter break, so Happy New Year, everyone—I came up Allen Street just as workers had finished stripping the Christmas tree at the Allen Street gates of its decorations.

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About 90 seconds later, I hit the Dunkin Donuts on College and Fraser for my usual morning tea. I couldn’t help but notice the store had recently lost some decorations of its own.

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Until a few days ago, the hand-painted words “O’Brien’s Lions” had taken up most of that window. I asked Cindy, the manager who usually has my order rung up before I reach the front of the line, about the loss of one of her regular early-morning customers—a guy who just happens to be the outgoing coach of the Penn State football team.

“He’s a really nice man,” Cindy said. “He would sign things, and he took a picture with just about everyone who worked here. It’s too bad, but he’s got a chance for his dream job. I don’t blame him.”

At an 11 a.m. press conference today, it’s expected that athletic director Dave Joyner ’72, ’76g will confirm that Bill O’Brien is gone after two years in charge of the Nittany Lion football program; the Houston Texans are expected to make O’Brien’s hiring official sometime today as well. For now, the Centre Daily Times is reporting that longtime assistant coach Larry Johnson will oversee the program until a hire is made. There’s no telling who the new coach might be, but media outlets are already listing possible replacements. Among the popular names are a couple of former Lions, current Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak ’82 and current University of Miami coach Al Golden ’91.

I’ll have an update from Joyner’s press conference later today.

Belatedly: YES! We’ve been holding that in for almost two weeks now, ever since the women’s volleyball team won its sixth national championship—and fifth in the past seven years—with a four-set victory over Big Ten rival Wisconsin. If you missed it (or just want to relive the awesomeness), you can find photos and a game recap here, and some great video here. Congrats to coach Russ Rose and his team.

And finally, some New Year’s inspiration: Scuba diver, ski instructor, grad student, Paralympian, and Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey 2013—good luck pigeonholing Maggie Redden ’07. The Newark Star-Ledger has a great profile of this accomplished alumna, a childhood polio survivor who was adopted from India and now lives one of those lives that make the rest of us look lazy.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

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