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In Brief: Penn State AD Steps Down

Dave Joyner became the acting athletic director at Penn State when the Nittany Lions were at their lowest point, a proud university rocked by a scandal that put the department in turmoil.

With a sense of duty to his alma mater, Joyner held the reins through 2 1/2 turbulent years, hiring two football coaches that kept the program afloat in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and Joe Paterno’s death.

Now Joyner’s set to let someone else call the shots, and will resign Aug. 1.

“I didn’t enjoy the circumstances that brought me here. You never forget to be reverent and respectful of the ones there hurt,” Joyner said by phone Tuesday night. “But I have enjoyed the camaraderie, I have enjoyed the honor of working with the great people here. For me, it was a great privilege.

“It was a privilege for sad reasons, but it was a privilege.”

Joyner was appointed acting athletic director in November 2011 after Tim Curley was placed on administrative leave. The interim tag was removed in January 2013, and Joyner will assist the department in the transition to the new AD.

Penn State will form a search committee and work with a consulting firm in looking for its next athletic director. David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business at Penn State, will chair the search committee.

Joyner hired Bill O’Brien to replace Paterno following sanctions levied against the university because of the scandal. O’Brien coached the Nittany Lions for two years before leaving for the NFL’s Houston Texans.

“I think everybody thought the football program, the whole university, was going to crash and burn,” Joyner said. “But the success Bill had in the face of those sanctions, yeah, those were tough, but to be able to rally ... they were forged in steel.”

Texans Name Starting QB

Houston — The Texans have a starting quarterback. Now they need star wide receiver Andre Johnson back in the fold.

New coach Bill O’Brien named Ryan Fitzpatrick the starter, an announcement overshadowed somewhat by Johnson’s absence Tuesday on the first day of a mandatory three-day mini-camp.

Johnson hasn’t participated in any of the team’s voluntary offseason workouts and said last month that he wouldn’t attend these workouts, either. On Tuesday, he missed the opening day of workouts that are the last before training camp in late July.

Fitzpatrick, a former Harvard star, signed with the team in the offseason a day before Matt Schaub was traded to the Raiders and O’Brien made him compete with the three other quarterbacks on the roster for the starting job.

“He definitely earned it,” O’Brien said. “He earned it with his preparation. He earned it with his accuracy. He earned it with his command at the line of scrimmage.”

A former starter for the Buffalo Bills, the nine-year veteran started nine games last season for Tennessee after Jake Locker was injured. Fitzpatrick threw for 2,454 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.