PSU prez: 'Wide-open' search for new coach

By GENARO C. ARMAS | December 1, 2011 | 2:11 PM EST

Penn State President Rodney Erickson speaks at a town hall forum organized by students at the university's main campus, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, in State College, Pa. The event served as an open discussion between students and the administration about the school's recent sexual abuse scandal, which has resulted in the departures of school President Graham Spanier and longtime football coach Joe Paterno. (AP Photo/John Beale)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Penn State's new president says the school will have a wide-open search for a new football coach, focusing on candidates with honesty and integrity.

President Rod Erickson said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press that one of the top criteria for Hall of Famer Joe Paterno's replacement would be how the candidate "would fit into the value system of Penn State," also citing a commitment to academics as one of the characteristics.

Paterno was fired Nov. 9 by school trustees in the aftermath of child sex abuse charges against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Paterno is not a target of the investigation but the scandal shamed the school.

Erickson said the search was "wide open" when asked if he would rule out anyone with previous Penn State ties.