Joe Paterno dies at 85
Joe Paterno, the former Penn State football coach who was among the most admired figures in the annals of collegiate sports but whose reputation was shattered in the wake of a child abuse scandal involving one of his longtime assistants, died Sunday morning of complications from lung cancer.. He was 85.
The death was announced by his family.
The Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins discusses her exclusive interview with Penn State legend Joe Paterno, in which the former head football coach spoke at length about the child sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. (Jan. 14)
A look at the victims and events in the case against Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, as reported by the grand jury that investigated.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Joe Paterno passed away earlier today,” the family said in a statement. “His loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled.
“He died as he lived. He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community.”
Mr. Paterno’s ascent, followed by his sudden firing at age 84, formed one of the most tragic narratives in modern athletic history.
Affectionately known as “JoePa,” Mr. Paterno began his 46-season tenure as Penn State’s head coach in 1966 after having served as assistant coach for 16 years. His teams won a record 409 games over that span with five undefeated and untied seasons and two national championships. He was the all-time winningiest coach in major college football history. Moreoever, his players and his team had one of the highest graduation rates in the country among athletes.
Mr. Paterno was shaken to the core this past fall when a local grand jury report alleged that his former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, had sexually assaulted underage boys.