After Penn State announced that Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien had accepted the job, Joyner sounded like he had knocked one out of the park.
"We have found the man to take Penn State football forward," Joyner said in a news release issued by the school Friday night. "Coach O'Brien exemplifies those traits that Penn Staters hold so highly."
The official announcement Friday night came almost 24 hours after ESPN's Chris Mortensen first reported it. A news conference to introduce O'Brien, 42, will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, with a players meeting following on Sunday.
"I am thrilled to be the head coach of the Penn State football program," O'Brien said in a statement. "I cannot tell you how excited I am to get started, meet the team, meet the football alumni, and meet all of the people that make this university so special."
Perhaps the first person to confirm on Friday the hiring of O'Brien was Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
"I'm sad to lose him; I told him that," Kraft told the Boston Herald. "Billy is a very high-quality guy. He's got integrity, he's honest. I'm sad to see him go, but I think they've chosen wisely."
O'Brien, who received national attention for his sideline argument with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during a Dec. 11 game, was in his first year as offensive boss of a team that scored an AFC-high 513 points in the regular season. He is in his fifth year in New England, after 14 years as a college assistant with Brown, his alma mater; Georgia Tech; Maryland; and Duke. He has no Penn State ties or previous head coaching experience.
Joyner's meeting with interim coach Tom Bradley and his staff lasted about 30 minutes. No coaches would comment on the content of the meeting, but the Associated Press, quoting a source, reported they were told that a new head coach had been hired who wasn't from the current staff.
Quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno, son of the ousted head coach, had tears in his eyes as he left the building. Paterno told reporters that he was still employed but that Joyner had asked the coaches to not comment on the situation.
It has been an emotional two months for the younger Paterno, who remained loyal to the program even after the board of trustees fired his father on Nov. 9 in the wave of outrage that followed the indictment of former assistant Jerry Sandusky on child sexual-abuse charges.
"It wasn't easy going to the practice field without him, and it wasn't easy coming to game day without him, because you think about him," Paterno said after the Lions lost to Houston in the TicketCity Bowl. "On game day, I always walked in the stadium knowing we had an ace up our sleeve in Joe and all the experiences we had."
Joe Paterno congratulated O'Brien in a statement provided by his family to the Associated Press that said he respected O'Brien's coaching record. Paterno wrote that Penn State "has always been about more than winning" and that he hoped the program's commitment to education and community service would continue.
The decision not to retain Bradley probably means the end of the line for Joe Paterno's staff, five of whom have been with the program for at least 16 years. Bradley, in his 33d year on the Penn State sideline, said last weekend he wasn't sure whether he would stay with the program if the new coach asked.
Bradley and many of the coaches had just come off the road, having visited the 13 players who have made oral commitments to Penn State as well as other potential recruits.
There was speculation that O'Brien would retain at least one member of the present staff to help with the committed players, especially because he will be preparing for the Patriots' first playoff game in Foxboro, Mass., when open recruiting resumes on Jan. 13 for a final 16-day period before national signing day.
The fact that officials remained mum on O'Brien's hiring for most of Friday didn't stop former Nittany Lion players from criticizing the choice or the selection process, or both. Perhaps the two biggest critics of the move were ex-Lions linebackers LaVar Arrington and Brandon Short.
Arrington told Blue White Illustrated on Thursday night that he was so angry about the hire that he would put all his trophies, jerseys, and "anything Penn State" in storage. Referring to the start of a popular Penn State cheer, he added: " 'We are' is no more for me."
However, on his afternoon radio show Friday in Washington, Arrington delivered a "sincere and from-my-heart apology to the whole [Penn State] community. I'm upset, and maybe it came out the wrong way." But he also said the university was hiding something.
"There's way more going on there," he said. "With the board doing what they've done, they had, in their own minds, effectively made Joe Paterno and the football team its scapegoat when in fact they are the very people that should have been leaving, should have been fired due to the lack of action" in the abuse scandal.
Short told the AP that members of the Penn State Football Lettermen's Club would be upset if the O'Brien reports were true and that a lawsuit might be considered to prevent the university from using their images. He said Bradley would have been the best choice.
However, Tim Sweeney, the president of the lettermen's club, said that Short was speaking for himself, and that the organization would not make a statement on O'Brien until the hiring was official.
Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494, email@example.com, or @joejulesinq on Twitter. Read his blog, "Lion Eyes," at www.philly.com/lioneyes