Penn State is interested in hiring Northwestern Athletic Director Jim Phillips to replace David Joyner, but it is not believed that Phillips would leave Northwestern for Happy Valley, according to the Chicago Tribune.
According to the paper, Penn State is expected to offer its next AD more than $1 million a year, and Phillips now only receives $750,000 annually. Phillips is to become the president of the National Association of Collegiate Director’s of Athletics this year, and has been sought by both Stanford and Illinois for administrative positions. During his tenure, generally considered positive, the construction of a new $220 million athletic complex at Northwestern was approved.
“Colleagues would be shocked if he left Northwestern considering his family roots in the Chicago area, a desire to see the lakefront facility come to fruition and his close relationships with President Morton Schapiro, football coach Pat Fitzgerald and men’s basketball coach Chris Collins,” reads the Tribune article. Phillips, an Illinois alumnus, has no known ties to Penn State.
Joyner stated that he would remain Penn State’s athletic director for as long as Rodney Erickson was president, and Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers confirmed that a national search will happen to find Joyner’s replacement. Powers could not confirm if the search has already started.
Under Joyner, who took the job in November 2011, Penn State hired both Bill O’Brien and James Franklin. Its Division I sports won five national championships during the former wrestler and football player’s tenure.
While it doesn’t appear likely Phillips takes the Penn State job, this is the first news we’ve heard about where Penn State’s interests lie this summer for Joyner’s replacement. Stay tuned for updates.