Some recent news items in sports worthy of comment while revving my snowblower's engine for the Daytona 500:
ITEM: JoePa has no plans to go.
This, of course, isn't really news. But all things Joe Paterno are reportable (please see related story on his eye surgery), and his lengthy interview with The Sporting News produced a few nuggets.
He said, "I'd love to go to 90," adding, "I don't spend one minute thinking of how I'm going to go out."
Paterno, 83, also confirmed his resistance to any kind of university-recommended succession plan.
He said: "If you're the athletic director, and you come to me and say 'hey, we want to get a guy in line; we want to make sure everybody knows he's going to replace you,' I'd say, 'OK, goodbye.' I'm gone.''
As much as Paterno is controlling his timetable, it sounds as if, ultimately, he won't be - and he'll stop coaching only when summoned by a higher power.
ITEM: Spanier not an NCAA candidate.
Graham Spanier's name came up as a possible replacement for NCAA President Myles Brand, who passed away last fall.
Spanier, though, said he is not a candidate, which should be good news for Penn State simply because inheriting JoePa - and being charged with managing the football transition - would be a tall task for a new university president.
ITEM: Bower making progress.
Hollidaysburg native Jeff Bower is in the midst of an excellent rookie season as the New Orleans Hornets' head coach.
When Bower took over for Byron Scott, the Hornets were 3-6. They're now 28-25 at the all-star break, meaning Bower's record is 25-19.
Even more impressive is the fact that star guard Chris Paul has missed 15 games due to injuries - all since Bower took over.
New Orleans ended the first half of the season on a good note by snapping a four-game losing streak with a win over Boston.
It will still be tough to make the playoffs out of the rugged Western Conference, where 11 of 15 teams are over .500, compared with just six of the Eastern Conference's 15.
But Bower's transition from general manager to GM/head coach has quickly restored the Hornets' competitiveness.
ITEM: Saints win Super Bowl.
A postgame controversy included the fact that Peyton Manning didn't shake hands with New Orleans counterpart Drew Brees.
LeBron James endured similar criticism when he left the court without greeting Orlando players following a loss in last year's NBA semifinals.
Ideally, in the name of sportsmanship, both megastars would hang around, and it's difficult to criticize James without jabbing Manning.
But the Super Bowl is such a scene, with thousands of people on the field, that it's tough to expect Manning to wait his turn to congratulate Brees or Sean Payton or whomever. This isn't a receiving line.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.