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Letters to the editor

January 6, 2008
The Altoona Mirror
Penn State should be in the Big East. It would be a perfect fit.

Why won’t it happen? Money. But if the braintrust could get past the money for one moment and think about the fans — and Pittsburgh, Morgantown and State College — and, yes the other cities, they would see it’s a good fit.

PSU does not belong in a midwest conference and never did.

Coach Paterno should let go of his old demons from trying to form an eastern conference. It’s been formed, and it’s called the Big East. His problem is he had nothing to do with it.

If they can’t join, Penn State, Pitt and West Virginia should always play each other on a home-and-home basis; this should be written in stone and never again tampered with.

And now to something else: PSU behavior at home games is terrible and needs to be addressed. I have been going up there off and on since 1975, and before I get started, alcohol was there then and is there now. In the ’70s, people were mellow and treated the opposing fans with dignity and respect, and they often joined in the parties that were going on.

What you’ve got now is people yelling obscenities at opposing fans, throwing beers at them, pushing, shoving and name calling. This happens at other campuses. Our people need to wise up.

We got to this year’s Ohio State game late. My son and his fiancee like Ohio State and had sweatshirts on. He was driving, she was in the passenger seat, and I was in the back. We crept down to our pre-paid spot, and someone noticed my son’s Ohio State garb, and they started yelling obscenities and rocking the car; two of them spit beer all over my windshield.

As usual in these situations, a few people will ruin it for nearly 100,000 others. A little harmless taunting is OK, but people shouldn’t be idiots. Let’s make Happy Valley special win or lose the greatest place on earth to play and watch football.

My take on some other PSU matters:

n Coach Paterno should stay as long as he wants and people and the media should just shut up about it already!

n Jay Paterno should take a coaching job elsewhere if they’re willing to have him. He is a distraction and only the offensive coordinator should call the plays.

n PSU had better get ready for the spread offense if they stay in the Big Ten. Rodriguez will bring it to Michigan for sure.

Craig A. Diehl

Roaring Spring

Give Rudel the job

There’s been a lot of speculation as to who Joe Paterno’s successor should be.

The answer is so obvious it’s been overlooked. Neil Rudel should be Penn State’s next head football coach. It would appear that after all this time handling the Paterno bashing himself, the torch has now been passed to Cory Giger, leaving Neil available for more important work.

For a number of years, he was able to criticize everything about the way JoePa ran his program. Whether it was recruiting, player development, playcalling, assignment of assistant coach duties, scheduling or team discipline, in every area of the program Mr. Rudel was able to tell us what Paterno was doing wrong.

Doesn’t it make sense that someone who knows everything that’s wrong with the way a program is being run must also know what needs to be done to correct all these problems? Anyone can see that Neil knows more about football than Joe.

In truth, if JoePa is ever forced to step down, it will be a shame on the university. His contributions to the school go far beyond the football field.

Michael Boston


In defense of Giger, Curve

Last week, an unhappy fan berated Cory Giger as ‘‘bush league’’ for his comments on Joe Paterno.

He questioned Giger’s ability, or lack thereof, to report on local sports stories, and cited his being a beat writer for a ‘‘bush-league team as being his ultimate calling.’’

Personally, I think Cory Giger does a good job reporting on sports at all levels, but it’s quite apparent this writer has no time for baseball in general and for the Altoona Curve in particular.

I think I can clear up the totally biased misconception concerning the Altoona Curve.

There are several businesses, and thousands of fans, who consider the Altoona Curve a tremendous asset to Blair County and beyond, and it’s quite clear all of baseball agrees.

In 2004, Curve General Manager Todd Parnell was named Eastern League Executive of the Year, and it was well deserved, as this gentleman is, in my opinion, the hardest-working man, at any job, at any level.

Parney has brought national attention to the Altoona Curve on several occasions and continues to keep the Altoona Curve in the media spotlight.

In 2004, the Curve were awarded the Larry MacPhail Trophy, symbolizing the top promotional effort, both on and off the field, in all of baseball.

In 2006, the Curve took home the John H. Johnson President’s Award Trophy as the top Minor League Baseball club on the basis of franchise stability, contributions, promotion and the financial success of the team.

I fail to see how the term ‘‘bush league’’ applies to any phase of Curve baseball.

Finally, in the nine years of Curve baseball here in Altoona, the team has made the playoffs five of those years, and watching the young pros plying their trade at BCB, and getting to know some of them and renewing our own acquaintances, has been a unique and rewarding experience for many of the fans.

The Curve has been and will continue to be an outstanding and welcome cog in the business and entertainment scene in central Pennsylvania. To label the Altoona Curve as a ‘‘bush league team,’’ shows a complete ignorance of what the organization is all about.

Ed Leipold


Nocek turned in ‘star’ career

Hollidaysburg Area High School football player Brad Nocek may not have made first team on the recently released Altoona Mirror All-Star team, but if you followed the last couple of years of Hollidaysburg football it was obvious who the team leader was with 3,589 all-purpose yards.

In Brad’s junior year, he finished with 1,810 all-purpose yards (961 yards rushing, 717 return yards, 122 receiving, 10 yards interception returns and 15 touchdowns).

Brad also had three interceptions, four fumble recoveries and 46 tackles on defense. According to the Pennsylvania Football News, Brad finished second in the state in return yards with 717 yards and set a school record with an average of 19.5 per punt return.

In his senior year, he finished with 1,779 all-purpose yards (949 yards rushing on 156 carries, 505 return yards, 258 receiving yards, 67 yards on interception returns and 16 touchdowns). On defense, he finished with three interceptions, five fumble recoveries and 65 tackles.

Brad finished his career with three Hollidaysburg school records — 31 touchdowns, 676 punt return yards and 19.3 yard punt return average. (All of the statistics can be found on

I really enjoyed watching Brad play the past couple of years and look forward to following him in college.

Joe McDonald


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