Joe Paterno sobbed while meeting with Penn State coaches after he was fired, book says
Joe Paterno and his wife Susan stand on their porch to thank well-wishers gathered outside in State College, Pa., Nov. 9, 2011. / AP Photo
(AP) STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Joe Paterno sobbed while meeting with his coaches and a former player the day after he was fired from Penn State, according to an excerpt of an upcoming on Paterno to be published in GQ magazine.
"My name," the Hall of Fame coach was quoted in the excerpt as telling his son and quarterback coach, Jay. "I have spent my whole life trying to make that name mean something. And now it's gone."
Paterno was fired by school trustees in November in the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. He died in January at age 85.
Paterno had granted access to journalist Joe Posnanski in 2011 to write a biography. The September issue of GQ features an exclusive excerpt, and the biography will be available in bookstores on Tuesday.
The excerpt described the frantic period on campus after Sandusky's arrest on Nov. 5 following a state grand jury indictment. Another of Paterno's sons, lawyer and lobbyist Scott Paterno, was described as the first member of the family to see the potential that the grand jury report could end his father's career.
At the time, Joe Paterno was coming off his 409th career win, which then made him Division I's winningest coach. The NCAA last month vacated 111 of Paterno's victories as part of sanctions against Penn State for the Sandusky scandal.
"Dad, you have to face the possibility that you will never coach another game," Scott Paterno was quoted as telling his father after reading the grand jury report.
Joe Paterno's relationship with the trustees began to sour after the coach rebuffed suggestions to step down in 2004 from school president Graham Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley. Penn State had just one winning season in five years before Paterno revived the program in 2005 by winning the Big Ten and the Orange Bowl, 26-23 in a triple-overtime classic over Florida State and coaching contemporary Bobby Bowden.
After the scandal broke, the family hired a public relations specialist who at one point asked Penn State football communications and marketing assistant Guido D'Elia for the name of one person on the board to try to negotiate a gracious ending, according to the excerpt.
D'Elia, one of Paterno's closest advisers, shook his head and referred to the coach's 2004 encounter with administrators. "The board started to turn," D'Elia was quoted as saying. "We don't have anybody on the board now."
Paterno, along with Spanier, was ousted Nov. 9. They have not been charged with any crimes.
Curley is on leave after he and now-retired school administrator Gary Schultz were charged with lying to a grand jury and failing to report an abuse allegation.
Sandusky is awaiting sentencing in jail after being convicted in June on 45 criminal counts involving 10 boys.
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