CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. — Jim Tarman, a York native who served as Penn State’s Director of Athletics in the early 80’s and 90’s, passed away Sunday in State College, the university’s athletic department announced Tuesday.
Tarman, who died at the age of 89, spent 36 years at Penn State. In 1958, he joined the staff as Sports Publicity Director. He was appointed Assistant to the Athletic Director in 1970 and promoted to Associate Athletic Director three years later, the university’s statement says.
Tarman succeeded Joe Paterno as the program’s athletic director in 1982 and remained in that position until his retirement in 1993.
“The Penn State Athletics family is saddened with the passing of Jim Tarman,” Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour said through a statement. “Jim was a passionate, dedicated and, obviously, highly influential member of the Intercollegiate Athletics and University staff for more than 35 years. Jim played a significant role in the growth of our athletic program, including leading our women’s programs into NCAA competition, new and improved facilities for student-athletes and, of course, our invitation and transition into the Big Ten Conference. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Tarman family and all of Jim’s friends and colleagues at Penn State and throughout the nation.”
Under Tarman’s direction, Penn State captured six National Championships, two of which in football (1982, 1986), the university’s release adds. Tarman also helped position the university into the Big Ten Conference.
“I am saddened to hear of the loss of former Penn State Athletic Director Jim Tarman,” Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement. “Jim was a good friend and respected colleague who made a lasting impact on the Penn State community during his 36-year tenure in the athletics department, including the integral role he played in leading Penn State’s transition into the Big Ten Conference. Our thoughts are with his family, and the entire Penn State community, during this difficult time.”
Tarman is a graduate of William Penn High School in York City as well as Gettysburg College. He was a member of the U.S. Army from 1946 to 1948.
Visitation will be held Thursday, Jan. 4 from 3-6 p.m. at Koch’s Funeral Home, 2401 S. Atherton Street in State College, Pa. The funeral service will be Friday, Jan. 5 at 11 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 205 S. Garner Street in State College.