Joe Paterno’s replacement coach Tom Bradley has said Thursday that he will “restore” the football program at Penn State, following the recent sex scandal.
In what Bradley called a “very unprecedented situation,” the former Nittany Lions player will now serve as the new interim coach at the school.
“I take this job with very mixed emotions…but with no reservations,” said Bradley. He has been a member of Paterno’s staff for 33 years, and said the former coach “has meant more to me than anyone except for my father.”
Acting president Rod Erickson approached Bradley with the job late Wednesday night, directly before the Penn State Board of Trustees had announced the firing of Paterno.
In Bradley’s press conference Thursday he refused to comment on whether he knew anything about former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing children. The allegations have led to Sandusky’s arrest and 40 counts of sexual abuse charges.
“Due to the ongoing investigation, I’m not going to say anything about that matter,” said Bradley.
Many media outlets are questioning if assistant coach Mike McQueary will remain a member of the staff at Penn State – considering he witnessed an alleged sexual attack of a 10-year-old boy by Sandusky.
The team is scheduled to play a home match Saturday against Nebraska. Bradley said he will decide then if McQueary will be in his usual spot on the sideline or in an upstairs coaches’ booth.
Considering the brevity of the ongoing investigation, the university administration is widely expected to clean out the entire coaching staff at the end of the season. Although Bradley’s position is impermanent and the allegations have yet to be clarified, he made a point to acknowledge the suspected victims and their families.
“I grieve for the victims, I grieve for the families,” said Bradley. “I’m deeply saddened by that. It’s with great emotion that I say that. The football part, we’ll get working on that right away.”
Bradley continued; “Right now, I think you should know where our team is through this whole issue, and it’s toward those children. It’s toward their families. Our thoughts and our prayers are with them.”
Wednesday night, Penn State students rallied behind Joe Paterno, who has served the school’s football team as head coach for 46 years. Chaos broke out – including the overturn of a news van – as students rallied for Paterno to coach the final home game of the season Saturday ahead of his retirement.