Ex Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno Dies of Lung Cancer

by on January 18th, 2015
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Joe Paterno had a rough and scandalous year. Unfortunately, old age, lung cancer, and a broken pelvis took its toll, and according to BusinessWeek, Paterno died yesterday at 9:25am surrounded by family at the Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College, PA. Before cancer ate away at his body, Joe Paterno helped to build Penn State into one of the finest football programs in the country. ESPN reported that he spent 61 years with the team, and 46 seasons as the head football coach. His career came to an end when he was terminated due to a cover up involving his assistant coach, and Paterno found out about his cancer diagnosis just days afterwards.

Joe Paterno made headlines last November for his possible knowledge of his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky allegedly abusing a young boy in the Penn State showers in 2002. ESPN reports that when confronted about the instance, Paterno replied “I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was. So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.” Vicky Triponey told USA today that when investigations began, Paterno told his players not to cooperate with the school’s office of student conduct. Controversy surrounds his actions, or lack thereof. Did Paterno turn a blind eye? Paterno had a responsibility as a member of Penn State’s staff to report these occurrences.

Despite the controversy surrounding his name, people flocked to mourn his death. CBS reports that students, alumni, and the community were met with grief and disappointment at the death of Joe Paterno. Ed Hill of Altoona, a 35 year season ticket holder, told CNN “His legacy is without question as far as I’m concerned, the Board of Trustees threw him to the wolves. I think Joe was a scapegoat nationally. … I’m heartbroken.” Sunday evening thousands of people, mostly students, stood outside Penn State’s administration building participating in a candlelight vigil. Many kind words have been passed on to his family, and it is obvious his memory will not be forgotten.

Erik Matuszewski, “Joe Paterno, Penn State’s Fallen Coaching Legend, Dies at 85″, Business Week

Gene Wojciechowski, “Ignorance No Excuse For Joe Paterno”, ESPN

“Paterno’s Death Met With Grief in State College”, CBS News

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