Legendary football coach Joe Paterno, who lost his job at Penn State in the wake of the scandal over a former assistant’s arrest on charges of sexually abusing young boys, will be honored by the school at some point, university President Rodney Erickson told alumni Wednesday evening.
“I can’t tell you yet what it will be or when it will be, but we will publicly honor Joe and his wife, Sue, for all the many things they have done for the university, both from an athletic standpoint and an academic standpoint,” Erickson said, according to USA Today.
Harrisburg’s Patriot-News says there was a “full-throated cheer” from the 600 alumni in attendance when Erickson made that announcement.
Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Penn State, was arrested last Nov. 5 and charged with 40 counts alleging he sexually abused eight young boys over more than a decade. Since then, 10 more counts involving two other boys have been added.
Sandusky says he’s innocent. Paterno lost his job because a grand jury reported that he did not tell police about Sandusky’s alleged crimes even though he had been told by another assistant about an incident involving one of the boys. Paterno did tell other university officials, however. He has not been charged with any crime.
Paterno, 84, coached Penn State’s team for 46 seasons and won more games (409) than any other coach in NCAA Division I history.
He won that 409th game on Oct. 29 and the Patriot-News reports today that “a source close to the Penn State board of trustees” says Sandusky was “seen in the president’s box that day and later went to the Nitttany Lion Club.” At that time, it was already known that a grand jury was investigating Sandusky and he had supposedly been told by Penn State officials to stay away from the school.
In related news, Paterno’s son Jay announced Wednesday that he is leaving the team’s staff. He had been the quarterbacks coach for the past 12 seasons. The school has hired New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to be the new head coach, he he is building a new staff.