By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — At a crowded press conference following a Penn State Board of Trustees meeting, Board chair Steve Garban made this announcement: “The Board has asked John to head up all Board activities on the current matters.”

That decision thrust vice chair John Surma of Pittsburgh into a national spotlight he has never quite experienced.

“Joe Paterno is no longer the football coach effective immediately,” Surma told the crowd.

After days of silence, Surma became the first Penn State official to take questions.

As reporters rushed to ask questions, he responded, “I can only go one at a time.”

Surma is chairman and CEO of U.S. Steel whose last most visible public appearance was four years ago when he announced the now delayed one billion dollar investment in the Clairton Coke Works.

Surma is a Mt. Lebanon native, a Penn State graduate, first employed by Price Waterhouse and Marathon Oil, a subsidiary of U.S. Steel, rising to become U.S. Steel’s chief financial officer, president, and now CEO.

Those who know Surma are not surprised by his cool, even-handed demeanor answering tough questions, some of which he could not or would not answer.

Surma: “We are certainly not rushing to a judgment that suggests we know all the facts. We don’t.”

Reporter: “So you don’t rush to judgment when it comes to facts, but you rush to judgment when it comes to Coach Paterno?”

Surma: “Is that a question or a statement?”

Reporter: “Did you rush to judgment by dismissing Coach Paterno?”

Surma: “No. I think we had enough information to make the decision we did.”

Cool, calm, unassuming — words you hear most about John Surma — and Penn State is in his blood.

He married a girl he met at Penn State and, no surprise, has one child there now and another who graduated.

For relaxation, the 57-year old Surma still plays hockey, a sport he once played at Penn State.


PHOTO GALLERY: Chaos On Campus After PSU Fires JoePa
VIDEO: Interim Coach Tom Bradley (11/10)
VIDEO: Joe Paterno Speaks After Firing (11/9)
VIDEO: Board of Trustees News Conference (11/9)
VIDEO: Watch The Attorney General’s News Conference (11/7)
STORY: Gov. Corbett Asks Penn State Students To Show Restraint
STORY: Bradley Takes Interim Coaching Job “With Mixed Emotions”
LINK: More On The Penn State Scandal

WARNING Contains Graphic Material: Read The Entire Grand Jury Presentment
AG, PSP Commissioner Statements: Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
LINK: Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office
LINK: Penn State Nittany Lions