Two days after the rest of the world knew, Penn State announced that Bill O’Brien will be its next head football coach in a press conference Saturday.
O’Brien becomes the 15th head coach in school history and the heir to longtime coach Joe Paterno. Many people are not happy with the hire, however, as they believe that O’Brien lacks the ability to sell novelty t-shirts as well as his predecessor.
In his more than 40 years at the helm, Joe Paterno’s likeness was used to sell millions of t-shirts, with designs such as “Joe Knows Football” and “Roll Up Your Pant Legs. This Is JoePa’s House.” Paterno’s shirts single-handedly fueled the State College economy for decades.
Store owners such as McLanahan’s Jordan Stewart are expecting huge losses with the announcement of the hiring.
“Our store relies on two things to make money: novelty t-shirts and overpriced groceries,” Stewart said. “It’s going to be a struggle for us that’s for sure. O’Brien just doesn’t lend himself to t-shirt designs as well as Paterno did. If it weren’t for the ‘You Can’t Spell Cocksucker without OSU’ and ‘Fuck Michigan’ shirts, we would probably have to close for good.”
Former football players like LaVar Arrington are also upset with the hire.
“Joe Paterno was a novelty t-shirt icon, he did so much for the university and then they go and hire a guy that’s never been on a shirt in his life? This is an outrage,” Arrington said. “I don’t think it’s ill-advised to say that this is the worst thing to ever happen at Penn State. I’m disgusted by what the administration has done.”
Paterno meant much more to the Penn State community than just novelty t-shirts. His likeness was also used to sell cardboard cutouts, mugs and even sandwiches. With O’Brien’s hiring, State College is expected to lose more than $50 million in annual earnings.
Despite the expected loses, former Penn State quarterback Kerry Collins said that everyone should be supportive of the university and of O’Brien.
“It is our responsibility as former players and alumni to do whatever we can to help the university,” Collins said. “That means it’s our job to buy as many items that feature O’Brien’s likeness as possible. Shirts, Christmas ornaments, blow up sex dolls, whatever it takes.”
Joegies owner Patrick Reese agrees.
“We as businesses need to support O’Brien,” Reese said. “For better or worse he’s our head coach for the foreseeable future. Now who wants to buy some Billie Cheesesteaks?”
By Andrew Cass