Local fans, alumni react to Penn State scandal - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local fans, alumni react to Penn State scandal

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- The Penn State child sex scandal has more than one tie to Chattanooga.

Channel 3 has learned the wife of Jerry Sandusky-- the former coach charged with sexually abusing 8 boys, over 15 years -- lists Chattanooga as her hometown.

The alumni base for the school has roots right here in the Tennessee Valley.

Pennsylvania's governor asked students, on Thursday, to keep violence out of their protests.

More than 2,000 students gathered in the streets to protest the firing of Joe Paterno, Wednesday night.

University President Graham Spanier was also fired for mishandling the incidents.

It's news that rocked one Chattanooga family, with a rich and deep Penn State history.

Zak Hobbs was in line to be the next generation to attend and he was hoping to play for Joe Paterno. The scandal has him, and his mom, rethinking his college plans.

High school junior Zak Hobbs knew at an early age, he wanted to be a Nittany Lion.

"I remember we watched Penn State {play} Michigan and the atmosphere was just insane," says Hobbs.

The McCallie safety was introduced to Penn State football by his mom, who is a grad and fan.

The 17-year-old has attended summer football camp on Penn State campus three years in a row, but he says he won't go back, and is now re-thinking his college plans.

"I don't want to be asked "Where are you in college?" "Penn State." "Oh, I heard about that scandal thing," says Hobbs.

Former Penn State defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky faces a growing list of allegations he sexually assaulted young boys.

Head coach Joe Paterno was fired Wednesday, for not going to authorities, after learning of the allegations in 2002.

"That was kind of a punch in the gut," says Hobbs. "I'll still root for Penn State, it will just be hard to watch knowing that there's not an 84-year-old man on the side lines coaching them up." 

While the loss of a legendary coach is heartbreaking, details of the scandal sicken Zak's mom.

"You feel so let down, so hurt by that because we hold Penn State in such high regard as an athletic program and as a school, in general, overall. And when something like this happens, you just feel shaken by it," says Liz Hobbs.

Zak says his experience on Penn State campus has been good.

While he may not become a Nittany Lion after all, he hopes the team, and their coaches, don't all get a bad name.

"I just don't want people to think the team, the motto, and all the coaches are the same way, they're not," says Zak.

"I think the school will recover, its just a matter of how long its going to take," says Liz.
Zak says he cheers for the Vols, when Penn State isn't playing. He may consider attending UT.  

He begins his senior year next fall.

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