A Penn State University football marketer who inspired tens of thousands of Nittany Lion fans to dress alike on game day, creating the now famous Beaver Stadium "White Out," has left his job, the school said Tuesday.
Guido D'Elia was director of communications and branding for football. His departure, and that of his staff, could suggest a shift in the football program's marketing and branding a month after legendary football coach Joe Paterno's death.
University officials did not explain Tuesday whether Mr. D'Elia was dismissed or he resigned.
They also said little about the future of the "White Out" tradition at Penn State home games or what future role the Strip District marketing strategy firm Mind over Media will have with Penn State football.
The company, co-founded by Mr. D'Elia in 1982, has done work for Penn State that includes football video production.
"Guido D'Elia is no longer working on behalf of Penn State Athletics," said Jeff Nelson, a spokesman for the athletic department. "In addition to Mr. D'Elia, I can confirm that three part-time personnel have been released from their responsibilities within the football marketing area."
In an email, Mr. Nelson said the athletic department does not discuss information related to an employee's departure. "Plans are under way to assure that all marketing responsibilities associated with Penn State Football are accounted for. I do not have any additional information at this time," he said.
Mr. D'Elia could not be reached Tuesday, and a woman answering the phone at Mind Over Media said the firm had no comment.
Beaver Stadium wasn't always the high-decibel, high-energy venue that makes things tough on opposing teams. The place once had the feel of "an opera crowd," Mr. D'Elia observed in a 2007 interview with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook.
That changed after Mr. D'Elia arrived in 2004 with the charge of making Penn State football games an unforgettable spectacle. Ideas, including the "White Out," caught on with students and older fans, as evidenced by the noise from 109,839 fans in Beaver Stadium as Penn State defeated Ohio State University in 2005.
"I remember linebacker Paul Posluszny standing next to me on the sideline and asking me a question, and I had to read his lips," then Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley told the Post-Gazette in the 2007 column.
Mind Over Media has produced "The Penn State Football Story." It depicts closeness between players, coaches and staff and has aired weekly in the fall in Pennsylvania and beyond on outlets including the Yes and Big Ten networks, according to Penn State's website.
In November, Penn State fired Mr. Paterno, the winningest major college football coach, amid fallout over the university's handling of child sex allegations involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. It subsequently hired Bill O'Brien as Mr. Paterno's replacement. Mr. Paterno, 85, died of complications from lung cancer last month.
Bill Schackner: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1977. First Published February 29, 2012 5:00 AM