Former Penn State athletic director has cancer

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 11, 2012 6:43 PM
Former Penn State athletic director has cancer

By Alexis Kunsak

PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - Former Penn State University Athletic Director Tim Curley, who faces perjury charges stemming from the child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the school, is suffering from lung cancer, his family said on Wednesday.

A malignant cancerous tumor was discovered in June 2010, and half of Curley's lung was removed, his family said in a statement. They said he has not undergone chemotherapy or radiation, but did not elaborate.

Curley and finance official Gary Schultz, who was formerly in charge of the university's police, were charged in November with perjury before a grand jury for testimony they gave about their knowledge of abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, 67.

Sandusky, who has maintained his innocence, faces 52 charges stemming from accusations by 10 men who say he molested them as juveniles over a 15-year period. No date has been set for his trial, and he is under house arrest.

The scandal also claimed the jobs of legendary football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier for failing to tell police what they knew about accusations against Sandusky.

Not long after Paterno was fired, his family said he was diagnosed with a treatable form of lung cancer.

Curley is on administrative leave from the university, and Schultz has retired. Curley's attorney Caroline Roberto said in a statement that her client "did not want his personal health issues to overshadow or minimize the serious legal issues at hand."

"However, despite his illness, Mr. Curley has remained totally focused on doing whatever is necessary to demonstrate that he is not guilty of the crimes with which he has been charged," she said.

The news about Curley came as Penn State's new president made plans to meet with alumni who have concerns about the scandal at the football powerhouse, a school spokesman said.

President Rodney Erickson's meeting with alumni on Wednesday evening in Pittsburgh was the first of three slated this week to address graduates anxious about the fate of their alma mater.

"The alumni feel passionately about the university and have real concerns and questions about what they are facing now," said Geoff Rushton, a university spokesman.

"The university, the president, and the alumni association felt this would be the best way to meet and have these answered," he said.

Remaining alumni meetings this week include one on Thursday in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and another on Friday in New York City.

Last week, Penn State named Bill O'Brien as its new head football coach. O'Brien, 42, came from the New England Patriots, where he was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach handling team star Tom Brady.

Paterno, a member of the College Hall of Fame, was head coach of the Nittany Lions for 46 years. With 409 victories at Penn State, he won more games in big-time college football than any other coach in the sport's history.

Unrivaled for the longevity of his success, Paterno promoted the notion that football players could excel on the field and in the classroom. "Success with Honor" was the motto of his football program, which boasted high graduation rates among players.

(Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)