Joseph Vincent "Joe" Paterno, 1926 - 2012

portrait of Joe Paterno


Born: 21 December 1926, Brooklyn, New York
Died: 22 January 2011, Mount Nittany Medical Center, State College, Pennsylvania

Paterno went to local schools, playing football at Brooklyn Preparatory School where he caught the eye of comic book publisher Busy Arnold, an alumnus of Brown University. Arnold paid Paterno's tuition at Brown where he played both quarterback and corner back and distinguished himself on defense. Intending to go on to law school, his college football success led coach Rip Engle to ask Paterno to become his assistant when Engle became head coach at Penn State in 1950. Fifteen years later, Paterno took over and started the winningest career in college football. (409-136-3) He met Susan Pohland in the library, they married in 1962 when she graduated. Under Paterno the Penn State football program consistently had one of the best records for academic achievement by players. Early in his career he turned down an offer from the New England Patriots, the only job he ever held was coach at Penn State. He and Sue gave several million dollars to the school and led fund raising efforts, the library where they met has been augmented by a new one with Paterno's name on it. In November of last year, former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested for sexual abuse of children, including at least one case of sodomy in the team's showers. Paterno notified campus officials but did not follow through when the those officials apparently did nothing, but when the story broke nationally he was fired. The same month it was announced that Paterno had lung cancer. Regret over the abuse scandal hurt Paterno badly. Complications related to the cancer required hospitalization on 13 January 2012, death followed nine days later.

Biography from Wikipedia and The New York Times obituary

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