STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -Penn State's president and athletic director plan to meet with Joe Paterno in the next few months, in part to talk about the 81-year-old coach's future.
Paterno typically meets with school administrators each offseason to review the previous year and look ahead to the next season.
This year's meeting is attracting extra attention because Paterno's contract expires after the 2008 season. The 42-year coaching veteran has said recently he could coach at least a couple more years, and perhaps has many as five.
Penn State President Graham Spanier, responding to a question posed Friday at a meeting of university trustees, said he was certain Paterno would return for his 43rd season this fall.
``He does have a year remaining on his contract, and we expect him to be coaching this fall,'' Spanier told reporters during a break in the meeting.
When asked if the topic of Paterno coaching beyond next year had come up yet, Spanier only said that he hadn't had a chance to speak to the coach yet.
Athletic director Tim Curley said they hope to sit down after the recruiting period ends in early February. Spring practice begins in late March.
``I just don't want to say anything until I've had the opportunity to talk to him about the subject,'' Curley said. ``We've talked about some other things, but haven't had a chance to zero in on that.''
Paterno's 372 career wins are one behind Florida State's Bobby Bowden for most among major college coaches.
Florida State last month signed Bowden, 78, to one more year with an option for another, while also designating offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher as ``head coach-in-waiting.''
Spanier declined comment when asked if he could envision such a scenario at Penn State. Curley spoke broadly when asked about the need for a succession plan.
``Good planning requires we do that in all sports, in the back of your mind, you have a backup plan in place,'' he said. ``It wouldn't be something that I'd want to state publicly what I'd be thinking, but hopefully a good manager has that in their hip pocket.''
Trustee David Jones asked Curley during the meeting about the recent string of legal troubles encountered by a handful of players.
``I am very confident we have our arms around it and as we proceed that they don't happen in the future,'' he said. ``And if they do, they happen in a minimal situation.''
Penn State finished 9-4 in 2007, and Curley said overall he thought the program was in ``great shape and moving forward.''

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