STATE COLLEGE — Late Friday afternoon in a large conference room inside the Penn Stater Conference center, a member of one Penn State football’s greatest families came out on the losing end, big-time, of a battle backed by, well, Penn State football’s greatest football family.
You could argue it was really that simple.
And so it was that Paul Suhey, one of the late Joe Paterno’s former players and the son of all-time PSU great Steve Suhey, lost in his bid to retain his alumni seat on Penn State’s board of trustees.
Suhey, a State College doctor and a trustee for 15 years, was a distant fourth (out of 39 candidates) in a vote to fill three alumni seats on the 32-member board,beats headphones.
The three winners were Barbara Doran (15,085), William Oldsey (13,940) and Edward “Ted” Brown (11,403). In all, more than 33,000 alumni voted.
Suhey finished fourth in the race with 4,521 votes and when the results were announced at Friday’s trustees’ meeting, a crowded room let loose cheerful cries and broke out in applause.
It’s almost impossible not to tie Friday’s result tothe day the university’s trustees, Suhey included, fired Paterno from his post as PSU football coach, part of the school’s reaction to the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Another former Penn State football great, Franco Harris, a champion of Paterno’s since he was fired and a headliner of a group of approximately 15,000 alumni known as Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, was present for the trustees meeting.
In recent weeks, a number of prominent PSU football lettermen — Harris, Todd Blackledge, Michael Robinson and Brandon Short among them — sent
And in early April, on the PSFS website endorsing the candidacies of Doran, Oldsey and Brown. In the letter, written by one of Joe Paterno’s sons, David Paterno writes, “For the record, we are not close to Paul Suhey and do not endorse him.”
Harris addressed the board Friday before the voting results were announced. His feelings for Joe Paterno have not changed. During his three-minute speech, Harris asked, “How did it feel to go after an 85-year-old man who was sick, weak and frail? Did it make you feel powerful?”
After the trustees’ meeting, Harris, wearing a blue blazer with a white tag bearing the words “Member of the Grand Experiment” (a nod to Joe Paterno’s term for academic and athletic excellence), congratulated the three new trustees.
He also added, “We’re just trying to let people understand that we really don’t like what happened on November 9, that (the trustees) they failed Penn State.
“So why should they represent us? I don’t want them to represent us. I don’t feel they deserve to represent us.”
Another trustee, Anthony Lubrano, who is also a Paterno loyalist, believed Paul Suhey’s loss was due to a number of factors — the Paterno family endorsement letter, the Football Lettermen’s letter, and Suhey’s early March interview with the Centre Daily Times in which he said the trustees did not fire Paterno in November of 2011. Rather, they merely “retired him three weeks early”. (Shortly before his firing, Paterno had announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2011 season.).
“Yes,” said Lubrano,beats by dre outlet, asked if the lettermen’s letter and the Paterno family endorsement impacted the election.
“But I couldn’t tell you the degree to which it (did).”
“Getting the lettermen to distribute that communication, I’m sure,monster beats, hurt Paul,” added Lubrano. “But I think what hurt Paul more than anything else was his interview in the Centre Daily Times. (He said) “We didn’t fire him (Paterno), we just retired him three weeks early.
“And that was right when the election began and that wasn’t probably the smartest comment to make but that’s Paul. And I can’t speak for why he said that.”
The Suhey name has long been synonymous with football excellence at Penn State. Paul and his brothers, Matt and Larry, played for Paterno in the mid-1970s and Matt was later the blocking back for Chicago Bears great Walter Payton.
Paul Suhey’s son, Kevin Suhey, was a backup quarterback for Penn Sate beginning in 2005.
But the Suhey name starts with Steve Suhey, an All-American guard for Penn State in 1947. Steve Suhey’s wife, Ginger, was the daughter of former Penn State football coach and PSU All-American Bob Higgins.
So in a way, the Suhey name has its roots in PSU football dating all the way back to 1919, the year Bob Higgins was named an All-American,beats by dre.
The Suhey name is still a big part of Penn State and always will be. But Friday, the news for Paul Suhey was not good.
He did not speak with the media after the trustees’ meeting but issued the following statement:
“It has been an honor to serve on the Penn State University Board for 15 years. I am proud of my service and I am proud of this board. I continue to be amazed at the high-caliber individuals who volunteer their time, expertise and skills to make this university better.
“They have made me a better person. Penn State was a great institution when my grandfather and father were here, it was a great institution when I was here and it is a great institution today.
“I want to offer my congratulations to the newly elected alumni trustees. I know they will be as proud as I was to represent the best and largest alumni association in the world.”
Another famous Penn State football voice from the recent past was heard roughly an hour after the news that Paul Suhey had lost his re-election bid became public.
It was the voice of Jay Paterno, Joe Paterno’s son and the quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator on the 2011 Penn State team.
Jay Paterno, a big fan of social media, offered this opinion on Twitter:
“Those BOT (Board of Trustees) elections remind me of Denzel in the movie Man on Fire patiently picking them off one by one. Good day for PSU.”
is a riveting 2004 film starring Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning. Technically, you could call it a thriller, as the plot involves Washington, a one-time CIA operative who is now a bodyguard, and his attempts to find Fanning, the person he was guarding in Mexico. The 9-year-old girl is abducted and soon Washington goes on a rampage in which lots of blood is spilled.
Make no mistake, Jay Paterno chose his movie carefully on Friday.
Man on Fire is all about revenge.