The Penn State board of trustees will hold a special meeting Saturday to potentially hire a new athletic director, according to a letter sent by Penn State President Eric Barron to all staff and coaches in intercollegiate athletics.
Barron wrote that, pending approval of the board’s compensation committee, the new athletic director will be announced at a press conference scheduled for noon Saturday at Beaver Stadium.
“The person I have selected was the first and unanimous choice of the screening committee,” Barron wrote in the letter. “I am sure you will share my enthusiasm and the endorsement of the screening committee in welcoming the new AD.”
A legal notice published Friday morning in the Centre Daily Times said the compensation committee will meet via conference call and that the sole purpose of the meeting is a personnel matter.
The board of trustees’ website said the committee is responsible for approving compensation and employment terms for top positions, such as executive vice president and provost, senior vice president positions, athletic director and football and basketball coaches.
The conference call will begin at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and will be broadcast at wpsu.org/live, according to the legal notice.
The name of the candidate the committee is considering was not available Friday.
Earlier this summer, Dave Joyner announced his plan to retire in August after having spent 21/2 years in the position.
Joyner became athletic director at the height of the Jerry Sandusky scandal in 2011 — at the time, he was a member of the board of trustees. He helped steer the department through historic sanctions levied by the NCAA and hired two head football coaches in as many years.
Penn State said at the time that it would take on a national search to find his successor, and named a search committee led by David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business.
Barron, in a previous interview with the Centre Daily Times, laid out some qualities he wants to see in candidates for the job.
He and his team sought someone who can maintain and enhance the financial standing of the athletics department; play a role in fundraising and marketing of the university generally and athletics specifically; handle litigation-related issues that arise; ensure students are successful in the classroom and on the field; handle compliance issues; lead contract negotiations with coaches; and lead a department that wins with integrity.
“You need someone who is good not only at reading the landscape, but someone who is an innovator and leader,” Barron said. “That’s what Penn State should have, and this is what I have in mind.”
The position is part of the president’s council and the hire will be expected to be a visible leader, he said.
“That means someone who is expected to be involved not just in the handling of issues in the area of athletics, but who also will participate in the discussions of the major issues facing the university,” Barron said.
“This has to be someone who knows what they’re doing with athletics, but who is part of the larger team and can work with other individuals as they intersect with athletics.”