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Joyner to exit Penn State with Erickson in 2014

| Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, 4:46 p.m.

Penn State president Rodney Erickson has said he will step down in June of 2014. The man who has overseen Penn State's athletic department for the last 14 months will apparently go with him.

Erickson appointed Dave Joyner the school's director of intercollegiate athletics Monday, effectively removing the interim tag from Joyner's job title and ending any speculation about his immediate future.

But Penn State also announced that Joyner, who had been acting athletics director, will only serve in the role while Erickson is president. The school plans on conducting a national search for an athletic director after Joyner, an All-American football player at Penn State in the early 1970s, finishes his term.

“I have confidence in Dr. Joyner and want him to continue as part of my leadership team while I am president,” Erickson said in a statement.

Joyner was a part of the group that hired Bill O'Brien to succeed Joe Paterno as football coach last January. O'Brien led the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record despite the adverse effects of NCAA sanctions and has won three national coach of the year awards.

Pitt and Penn State have also extended the in-state rivalry that resumes in 2016 since Joyner has overseen the athletic department.

Joyner is part of a leadership group that has endured intense criticism from some Penn State alumni and groups such as Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship. The school's leadership has come under fire for agreeing to severe NCAA sanctions even though questions have been raised about the NCAA's jurisdiction in punishing Penn State in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

There have also been rumors of a rift between Joyner and O'Brien, prompting speculation about the former's future at Penn State.

“I've heard something about that, but that's completely untrue,” Joyner said on Jan. 7. “We've always had a great relationship, and it's the same now as it was Day One.”

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at sbrown@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ScottBrown_Trib.

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