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Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner, who took over at the height of outrage over the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse scandal and hired the Nittany Lions' last two head football coaches, announced Tuesday that he plans to retire from the university.
According to a Penn State news release, Joyner, a 1972 graduate of the university, has asked that his duties as athletic director end on Aug. 1.
Joyner said in the release that it was "an honor and privilege to serve Penn State" and that a "daily source of inspiration" to him came from student athletes, coaches, staff, and the university community.
Joyner had said he would leave his position when president Rodney Erickson stepped down, which Erickson did on May 11. Eric J. Barron began his tenure as university president on May 12.
"Dave did an outstanding job under very difficult circumstances," Erickson said. "And the entire Penn State community owes him a debt of gratitude."
Barron will name a search committee, to be chaired by university senior vice president for finance and business David Gray, to find Joyner's successor. Barron said Joyner "has provided steady leadership to athletics . . . [and] I want to thank him for his hard work in upholding Penn State's legacy of academic and athletic success."
Quoting "industry sources," the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that Penn State had interest in Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips.
Joyner, an orthopedic physician, became part of the Penn State board of trustees in 2000 and still was an active board member when he was named acting athletic director on Nov. 16, 2011, 11 days after athletic director Tim Curley was placed on administrative leave following his indictment on charges of perjury related to his testimony in the Sandusky grand jury investigation.
The appointment was controversial. Joyner had voted with the majority of the board to oust iconic head football coach Joe Paterno, and then slid over from the board a short time later to become head of Penn State's athletic department even though he had no experience in athletic administration.
Joyner was praised, however, for chairing the search committees that brought head football coaches Bill O'Brien and James Franklin to Happy Valley.
O'Brien coached for two seasons and succeeded despite NCAA sanctions against the Nittany Lions football program. Franklin, who was hired last January after O'Brien left for the NFL's Houston Texans, has impressed with his enthusiasm and his recruiting skills.
Joyner was named permanent athletic director on Jan. 22, 2013. When asked earlier that month if having "acting" removed from his title meant he wanted the job long-term, he replied: "I'm here to serve at the behest of [Erickson]. I'll be here as long as they want me."
Staff writer Erin McCarthy contributed to this article.