Jay Paterno ineligible for board

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- As Jay Paterno figures out what to do next, the former Penn State assistant coach at least knows one avenue he will not pursue.

Paterno, son of the late head coach Joe Paterno, said Friday he was nominated to run for a seat on the university's Board of Trustees, though he never declared his candidacy and cannot run anyway because of election guidelines.

According to Paterno, the Trustees office informed him last week that he had received at least 50 nominating votes, the threshold needed to qualify. But bylaws prevent former employees from serving for a period of three years after leaving the university.

"I got that email from the office of the Board of Trustees really out of the blue," Jay Paterno said Friday in a phone interview.

The same board ousted Joe Paterno in November following 46 seasons in the aftermath of child sex abuse charges against retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Some alumni and former players critical of the trustees' handling of the crisis see the race this spring for three alumni-elected seats on the board as a way to enact change.

The nomination deadline for trustee candidates is Feb. 25.

"With still another week to go being able to nominate people, I want to make sure that people nominate (those) who are eligible," Paterno said.

In a statement, Paterno thanked supporters and referenced his grandfather's command to his father to "Make an impact."

"We encourage all Penn Staters to get involved in Penn State's governance and in the Trustee election process," he said in the statement. "It is a vital role for alumni of this great institution and only by participation can we make an impact on our most beloved alma mater."

Paterno said he looked forward to "staying engaged with Penn State," including speaking to classes and getting involved with fundraisers for the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, a student-run philanthropy which benefits pediatric cancer research and care.

It appears he won't coach next season, though he hasn't ruled anything out.

"I'm taking the year off, pursuing a couple things," he said. "I want to take my time and sort those things out."

Joe Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer days after his dismissal Nov. 9. He left behind his wife of nearly five decades, Sue; five children including Jay; and 17 grandchildren.

Jay Paterno said his mother was in good spirits and enjoying spending time with grandchildren. With five young kids of his own, Jay Paterno had no plans to leave the area.

He coached quarterbacks the last 12 years at Penn State. On Friday, Joe Paterno's successor, Bill O'Brien named Miami (Ohio) quarterback coach Charlie Fisher to the same position at Penn State. Fisher's previous coaching stops include Vanderbilt, where he worked with Jay Cutler, along with Temple and North Carolina State.