For the latest era of Penn State football, it’s now official: “The lights are out, The Show is over.”
Labeled as the creator of “The Greatest Show In College Football,” Guido D’Elia’s time at Penn State came to an end on Monday in another housecleaning move by Penn State to transition into the O’Brien era.
Mixed reactions greeted the move, but given the constant criticism I’ve seen Guido take from fans, I wanted to share my own opinion on his time at Penn State as someone who had the opportunity to work with Guido on a number of occasions through my involvement with Paternoville. In my experience, he genuinely cared about student input, often asking for opinions from myself and other student leaders on issues related to the game atmosphere and/or student section. He let us help guide “the best student section in the country.”
As a marketing major, I examine Guido’s tenure at Penn State from another different perspective than many fans. I have not always agreed with decisions made by the marketing staff, but I understand the reasoning behind them. While the Penn State football game experience remains special for all, a stale experience will not keep fans, especially students, coming back with the same fervor. Look no further than Duke basketball’s recent struggles to fill their fabled student section, despite fielding yet another national title contender, for proof of that. Some promotions (yes, we know, you didn’t like the tie-dye shirt idea) certainly seemed silly, but new traditions like the Whiteout (and eventual White House) and the playing of Zombie Nation have become as much a part of Penn State football as plain uniforms and black shoes.
D’Elia’s influence extended past game days through his partial ownership of Mind Over Media, which has produced some of the classic Penn State football videos we’ve come to cherish. While Penn State has, and will find, plenty of talent to continue those videos, topping the Penn State Football Story appears impossible at the present time.
I am very interested see what direction the Penn State football game experience takes with Guido no longer in charge. Most current students, as well as many recent alums and younger fans, fail to realize that Beaver Stadium has not always placed among the most intimidating venues in college football. In fact, since yesterday’s news, some have expressed concern at the thought of the stadium atmosphere returning to the way it was before Guido, when many fans “sat on their hands” despite the team’s consistent success on the field. Personally, I’d rather have this.
Yes, I hear the complaints about too much piped-in music or playing music at the wrong times, and I agree with some of them. However, the fact remains that the overall experiential value of a Penn State football game exploded under Guido’s watch, and I ask the (many) critics to acknowledge Guido D’Elia’s numerous contributions to what has become one of the most spectacular gameday environments in all of college football. Where the game day experience at Beaver Stadium goes remains a question, but we can only hope to keep the level of intensity and excitement the past eight seasons contained.
What is your opinion of Guido D’Elia’s contributions to the Penn State football game day atmosphere? What would you like to see stay or go?