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Giger: Curley's reputation ruined by scandal


November 8, 2011
By Cory Giger, , The Altoona Mirror

Before Saturday, Tim Curley was considered a good man and, to most, a good athletic director.

Not anymore.

Regardless of what ultimately happens to him in the courtroom, Curley is ruined in the court of public opinion.

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He is on an administrative leave of absence right now, but it's hard to believe he will ever be able to resume his duties overseeing Penn State's athletic department.

Curley's face has been splashed on the screen by every major news outlet in the country, the poster boy for an alleged cover-up by Penn State officials as part of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Lies destroy lives, which is a common theme many high-powered individuals have learned throughout history.

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Add Curley's name to the list for allegedly lying to the grand jury, leading to a perjury charge.

Before Saturday, Curley was known as the man who:

* Made a phenomenal hire in luring legendary wrestler Cael Sanderson to PSU and seeing him coach the program to a national title in just his second season.

* Helped bring about Division I hockey and a state-of-the-art new arena that's being constructed on campus.

* Made a terrific hire in bringing Coquese Washington on board to lead the women's basketball program after the Rene Portland discrimination debacle.

* Hired a new men's basketball coach in Patrick Chambers who looks like a fantastic fit for PSU as he enters his first season.

* Oversaw an athletic program that won 21 NCAA titles during his 18 years (10 since 2007 alone), which is more than double the number won by any other Big Ten school during that span, according to PSU's athletics website.

* Oversaw an athletic program that has consistently achieved some of the nation's highest academic standards.

* Had the difficult task of leading a self-sustained athletic department that does not receive funding from the university's academic side.

Curley also made his share of mistakes as AD.

It was laughable in 2009 when he renewed the contract of men's basketball coach Ed DeChellis simply for making two NIT appearances in six years.

Curley and other PSU administrators failed to monitor Portland and her alleged bigoted ways, and that scandal embarrassed the university.

Some people want to blame Curley for not getting rid of Joe Paterno after the 2004 season, but that's not really fair given how much clout JoePa still had at that point.

Before Saturday, Curley had a chance to leave a lasting legacy at Penn State, his alma mater and a place he truly and deeply loves.

He, along with university president Graham Spanier, would have been in charge of finding Paterno's successor and establishing the next era of Nittany Lion football.

That opportunity almost certainly has been lost for Curley, and ultimately perhaps for Spanier, as well. Time will tell if Spanier is able to emerge from this scandal with his job.

Before Saturday, everyone already knew Sandusky was being investigated and that there was a chance things could get very, very bad for him.

But it wasn't until Saturday that we learned of Curley's sordid involvement in this fiasco.

There are disgusting, appalling revelations alleged about Sandusky in the grand jury documents, and it's equally as appalling that Curley seemed to try and sweep under the rug the repulsive 2002 shower incident involving Sandusky and a 10-year-old boy.

The grand jury document states: "Curley did not report the incident to the University Police, the police agency for the University Park campus or any other police agency."

That is deplorable, and no one who commits such an egregious act of incompetence should be allowed to hold a high-ranking office such as athletic director at a university.

Tim Curley held that office at Penn State for 18 years and did many wonderful things.

But after what we learned Saturday, he's no longer worthy of having a career as a college administrator.

Cory Giger is the host of "Sports Central" from 4 to 6 p.m. daily on ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM. Reach him at 949-7031 or @CoryGiger on Twitter.

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