The Sins of Penn State: The Untold Story of Joe Paterno’s Fall

The world Joe Paterno created brought him down in the end.



IT’S A WEDNESDAY IN EARLY JANUARY, a gray afternoon, but not bad by State College standards. It’s not too cold. There’s no snow. And there’s smoke drifting up into the bare oak trees out of a chimney toward the back of the rancher on McKee Street, a couple blocks north of campus. Sue has got the wood-burner going, so I know the Paternos are home. I walk up a wood ramp—built a few weeks earlier for Joe’s wheelchair­—to ring the bell at the front door. Nothing. I ring again.

Through the narrow vertical window next to the door, I see someone coming. The door opens, and there’s Sue Paterno. She’s normally as willowy and blond and handsome as Joe is swarthy and hook-nosed and nearsighted, but now she’s wearing a gray sweatshirt, with no makeup, her hair up in curlers. Four very large red curlers, to be exact: two on top of her head, two along her temples.

I tell Sue my name, then say: “I’m an old Penn Stater—I went to school here back in the ’70s, and lived around State College for a decade. … I wonder if I can have a conversation with Joe.”

These things are true, though of course I will have to tell her I’m a reporter—but not yet.

“He’s resting right now,” Sue Paterno tells me. Joe, I’ve heard, is exhausted from the chemotherapy he’s been getting for his lung cancer.

“Could I come by later?”

Sue Paterno thinks for a moment. She has, I know, an enormous amount of influence on Joe. She actually seems to be considering that her husband might make time to speak to a onetime PSU student who shows up at their door, and given everything that’s happened in the past two months—starting with the allegations that over many years former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused eight young boys, which led to Joe Paterno’s swift dismissal­ as coach—I’m amazed. Not to mention the lung cancer, and the broken pelvis from a fall heading to the bathroom …

“We have an appointment at four,” Sue tells me. A chemo treatment.

“Would tomorrow be better?”

Sue Paterno considers. “Why don’t you call first?” she suggests.

“The number in the phone book?” As everyone knows, it’s listed.


“I hope Joe is doing well … ”

“He’s … ” She hesitates. Sue Paterno looks tired. Her face is lined. She’s physically fragile herself, with a bad back. “He’s getting there.”

In fact, her husband is gravely ill. That next morning, when I call, Sue answers, and before I tell her what I’m really up to, she beats me to it. “Are you a reporter?” Sue asks. “I am.”

She tells me, pleasantly, that they aren’t talking to the media just now.

AS JOE PATERNO SLIPS AWAY TO HIS DEATH over the next two and a half weeks, I’ll tell this story to people who know the Paternos. I’ll tell them about Sue Paterno’s informality and friendliness to an inquiring stranger, and everyone will say, “That’s them exactly! Joe and Sue—they are very down-to-earth. Very regular people. Wonderful people!”

Something else: As I talk to those who knew Joe Paterno, who worked with him, who played for him, it becomes clear that he was a man who lived up to his reputation. That he believed in developing scholar-athletes, in doing things the right way, and that his ideals for his football program­—and the university itself—were on the up-and-up.

Though he could be a charmer in East Coast living rooms, wooing the schoolboys he wanted, once Paterno got hold of those boys, it was a little different. “I remember telling my mother,” running back Charlie Pittman once said, “‘This guy’s too nice to be a football coach.’ Boy, was I wrong.” A dictator. Tough—but tough on everybody. Jimmy Cefalo, a kid from Pittston, became a star wide receiver and fulfilled the requirements for his journalism degree in three years back in the mid-’70s. Winter of his senior year, he signed up for cake courses, which quickly got him summoned to Coach’s office. “These courses are beneath you!” Paterno railed.

Which is why, over the years, Joe Paterno became JoePa, simultaneously fatherly and symbolic. He became a foothold of belief for the hundreds of thousands of middle-of-the-road kids from all over the state who matriculated to the middle of nowhere to get away from home and drink beer and … what? I was one of them. To “get an education,” maybe. But who were we? What in the world would we become in this beautiful, godforsaken outpost? Joe provided a center, a method: “Win with honor.” Collectively. In ugly white uniforms with no names.

A long time ago, he morphed from a very successful football coach to an idea, the idea that in fact we middle­-of-the-roaders weren’t average. That at this simple land-grant school plopped in the exact center of the state, a special method was born. We are … Penn State. Let outsiders roll their eyes. Graduates of Happy Valley square their shoulders.

Then they go on to give back. Penn State has the largest dues-paying alumni association of any university … in the world. Some of the alums are very rich and donate millions. They give to the idea that JoePa created. A 23-year-old Ivy League English grad came to a cow college in 1950 as an assistant coach. He was fired this past November, at the cusp of 85, from one of the country’s better research institutions—built, in large part, by him.

We’ve all heard the simple outline of what brought him down. In early March of 2002, assistant football coach Mike McQueary came to Paterno’s house on a Saturday morning and told him what he’d seen the night before in a football locker room: Jerry Sandusky and a young boy in the showers, where Sandusky was fondling the boy or doing something “of a sexual nature” to him, in Paterno’s description of what McQueary said.

A day later, Paterno called his athletic director, Tim Curley. And that’s all he did—the right thing, technically, reporting what he’d been told to his putative superior. But not doing anything more than that made Paterno the most important link in a chain of Penn State officials who looked the other way.

Which is why, when the Sandusky scandal hit and Paterno was immediately jettisoned, there was a monumental collision.

The Thursday in November after Paterno was fired, Penn State alum Anthony Lubrano took his teenage daughter to a concert in State College. Lubrano is a financial consultant who lives in Chester County, and he’s given millions to his school. He happened to run into ex-Penn State football captain and board-of-trustees member Dave Joyner in the Nittany Lion Inn.

“I have never been more disappointed in the board of trustees,” Lubrano said to Joyner, whom he knows. “What you did to that man is unthinkable.

“Anthony,” Joyner said, “you’re entitled to your opinion. But Joe is the most powerful man in the state.”

Lubrano was flabbergasted, and he got close to Joyner, jabbed a finger at his chest: “Are you suggesting that Joe Paterno is responsible for Sandusky’s behavior?”

“No,” Joyner said. “But he could have done whatever he wanted”—meaning that Paterno should have blown the whistle back in 2002. That would have been the end of Sandusky.

So there we have the two sides, writ large: great power abused, or a great man unjustly vilified. Since Paterno’s firing and death, the court of public opinion has jockeyed one way, then the other.

But as I poke further, I realize neither extreme makes sense. I begin to get an understanding of the way Paterno’s immense power manifested at his university. And why the Sandusky scandal played out the way it did, in a culture Joe Paterno created in the middle of nowhere.

HARRY TRUMAN WAS PRESIDENT WHEN JOE PATERNO drove west with Penn State’s new head coach, Rip Engle, to State College. Joe had studied English literature and played quarterback for Rip at Brown; he’d taken the law boards—scoring in the top 10 percent nationally—but he’d forgo law school. He had a thirst to learn but a “rage to win,” as his younger brother George once said. He’d give coaching a try for a year.

State College and Joe were a strange fit. He’d grown up in Brooklyn’s Flatbush section; his parents were staunchly Italian and staunchly pro-Joe, the oldest of three. His mother would ask George, who she suspected was the better athlete, to tone it down in high-school games so as not to outshine his older brother. His father, a state court clerk, studied nights to get his law degree at 42. Joe was a star student educated by Jesuits, a thinking-man’s athlete (i.e.: not a standout) given the nickname “The Dogfaced Boy” as a child—he was deadly serious. Big things were in store for him. It was a given.

But coaching football in central Pennsylvania? He had big doubts. Still, there was an idea Joe had of himself that would start to mesh with coaching. His favorite book, going back to Brooklyn Prep, was Virgil’s Aeneid. To Joe, Aeneas’s epic struggle­—to create a new city in Italy after his native Troy was destroyed—was symbolic of a man accepting his fate—not merely what happened to him, but his true responsibility to others, come hell or high water. The molding of young athletes as young men began to grow on Paterno.

It took 16 years, but finally, in 1966, Joe got his shot. By then he was married (Joe met Sue, 13 years younger, in PSU’s library; his idea of courting was to give her a copy of The Stranger and ask for her written thoughts on Camus) and had started a family. He spent a summer as head coach buried in an upstairs room, rethinking his defense. He took complete control of his staff, managing every detail. “When a guy stakes his life on something new, there’s no other way,” Joe would later write.

This was important. This was destiny. But would it work?

PSU’s record, his first year, was 5-5. But then, starting in 1968, Joe’s team started winning, and kept winning.

There were two straight undefeated seasons. Penn State didn’t lose for more than a thousand days. For the first time, the Lions were beating big teams—Kansas, UCLA—on national TV. In January 1970, 5,000 students came to a rally in Rec Hall. The player names were now big-time: Kwalick, Pittman, Reid. But the biggest ovation, a roar that rocked Penn State’s old gym, was for Joe Paterno. Joe had become Penn State football, and Penn State football was national news.

He got bigger. In 1972, the NFL’s New England Patriots tried to lure Paterno—then earning $30,000 a year—with the first million-dollar contract for a pro coach. Joe hemmed and hawed, but in the end he turned the offer down, with his particular ability to be humble and grand in the same breath: “You went to bed with a millionaire,” he said he told Sue, “but you woke up with me.”

With that one, the national press fell in love. Bill Conlin, then with the Philadelphia Bulletin, came up with “The Grand Experiment” to describe Joe’s dictum that his athletes came to Happy Valley to actually study. In fact, they did and still do; almost 90 percent of Penn State’s football players graduate, far above the national average for big-time programs, and professors at PSU say the team exerts zero influence on how players are treated academically.

Joe got bigger yet. In 1973, he delivered the commencement address in June. He quoted John Steinbeck, W.H. Auden and Robert Browning. He urged the graduates, as they walked into a Watergate-obsessed world, not to become cynical about civic engagement. Then he ended with this, to an audience of 22-year-olds who had cut their teeth on the ’60s:

“You have inspired us to stretch. You have disrupted our comfortable thinking. You have made us reevaluate, think again about our ideals and our principles. You have made us look again at our souls.”

This from the football coach? Not a coach. Joe. Sharing the way with us.

There was another big step to take, a decade later, after Paterno’s 1982 team beat Georgia for his first national championship. He was invited to speak before the board of trustees­—ostensibly so they could fete him. Instead, he let them have it:

“It bothers me to see Penn State football number one and then to pick up a newspaper and find a report that many of our academic departments and disciplines are not rated up there with the leading institutions.”

Paterno was right; Penn State was a very average public university. What’s more, its endowment, as of the late ’70s, was a pathetic $11 million. Chastised, the trustees soon began a $200 million fund-raising campaign­, vice-chaired by Paterno. Two decades later, the trustees wanted to raise another $700 million; Paterno didn’t see why the goal shouldn’t be a cool billion. Everybody thought he was nuts—until the campaign landed $1.4 billion. Or, overwhelmingly, Joe did. The master recruiter of kids was dynamite with moneybags boosters and alums, too.

By the end of the ’90s, Penn State had come up to speed as a research university, with enrollment tripling since Joe Paterno’s arrival half a century earlier. And Happy Valley belonged to him.

THERE WERE HINTS OF PATERNO’S POWER getting out of whack, of something not right, as far back as the ’80s, when he won his two national championships. Joe seemed to be toying with going into politics; he and Sue got more involved in fund-raising, in improving the athletic facilities, in charities. He was stretched thin. More to the point, as his brother George would write of Joe in his 2001 biography, “He was just getting too powerful. … The narcotic of success had gotten to him. He talked down to people.”

Rather than pay his brother a visit on McKee Street, George, who was the color analyst for PSU football broadcasts, wrote a letter advising Joe to come down to earth. As George knew all too well: “You don’t take Joe on head-to-head.”

Saintly Joe, it turns out, was quite capable of being full of himself. One day he checked out a defensive drill in practice and saw a walk-on player down in his three-point stance, ready to pounce. Joe yelled, “Get someone in here who’s actually going to play!” Walk-ons are non-scholarship players; this one, a 280-pound lineman who dreamed of simply making the team, who admits that he’s “scared to death” more than 20 years later to say anything bad about Joe Paterno—that day in practice, the legendary coach made him feel like nothing. A waste of the great man’s time.

There are stories like this, too: One day a few years ago, Paterno found his usual route home from practice blocked by some grade-schoolers visiting campus. Firing open his car door into the student cop redirecting traffic, he roared: “Do you know who I am?

Yeah, the man who built it all could be a jerk.

But perhaps it’s unfair to bring up isolated incidents in 60 years of coaching. Most players who spent four years in Happy Valley became true believers in Joe’s gospel of doing it his way, especially once they left. But you had to buy into it. A graduate assistant coach named Matt Paknis was hired just after Paterno won his second national championship, in 1986. “There was a very bizarre dynamic down there” in Happy Valley, Paknis, now a management consultant, says. “It wasn’t like other programs and staff.” Paknis is referring to Paterno’s absolute control and power. He remembers one time he was late getting a player out onto the field; Paterno threatened him physically, screaming that he would “come and get” both of them. Paknis only lasted a year and a half.

Joe Paterno moved on toward a record number of victories—until he hit rock bottom suddenly, disastrously. Nine games into the 2004 season, Paterno’s team had lost 16 of its last 21 games, an unthinkable falloff.

The nosedive cast a pall over the university and, in fact, all of Nittany Lion Nation. Paterno was the Penn State brand, and the brand was suddenly not just old, not just losing, but maybe lost. Paterno claimed his team was close to being good again, yet in a homecoming game, the offense was shut out in a 6-4 loss to Iowa. That was pathetic. But it wasn’t just the losing: If Paterno was lost—if he’d lost his grip but couldn’t let go—the school itself was in limbo. Waiting. Holding its collective breath for a 77-year-old man.

So PSU president Graham Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley, along with a board member and vice president Gary Schultz, paid Paterno a visit on McKee Street the Sunday before Thanksgiving in 2004. They didn’t demand Joe’s resignation. They only asked, as gently as they could, how long he would stay. They wanted a plan for his succession. Could he tell them when?

Joe threw them out of the house. Nobody was going to force him, the guy who’d created the university’s centerpiece, its calling card, to say when. And then Paterno proved his point by turning his team around in the next couple of seasons. He was untouchable.

And any mere administrator who dared cross him would quickly find out who ran things. When the Sandusky scandal hit, a former PSU standards-and-conduct officer­ named Vicky Triponey told the Wall Street Journal a chilling story: In the spring of 2007, six football players were arrested after a vicious fight in a downtown apartment. Triponey wanted the players dealt with like any other students. Paterno said the players shouldn’t have to testify against one another; he would decide on punishments, as he’d always done.

Triponey said Paterno told Spanier he would stop raising money for the university unless she was fired. Spanier told her he wouldn’t let that happen, though in the past he’d warned her that she wasn’t fitting into “the Penn State way.” Joe’s way.

In the end, none of the players missed any games; Paterno’s punishment was to make the entire team clean up the stadium for two hours after home games that fall. Triponey resigned from Penn State that September, reportedly escorted from her office on her last day by security guards.

TO GET A REAL FEEL FOR THE UNDERBELLY of “the Penn State way,” we need to understand the administrators on the other side of Joe Paterno—meaning his bosses, Tim Curley and Graham Spanier.

Curley, as athletic director, wasn’t merely some administrator foolhardy enough to leap into the buzz saw of Paterno’s power. The job of being Joe Paterno’s de facto superior required a man who understood the territory. Curley was to the manor born.

He grew up in State College, across from the old Beaver Field in the center of campus. A friend who has known him well since 1966—since middle school—says Curley­ worried a great deal about what people thought. His mother worked at Bostonian, and Tim wore khaki pants, penny loafers, pressed shirts—“a company man in high school,” says his old friend. “He was very conscious of doing the right thing.”

He parked cars for games and sold programs, and went to Penn State. He made the team as a walk-on quarterback, and after he graduated in 1976, he became a graduate assistant coach. Curley was eventually promoted to assistant athletic director. A faculty friend, who teaches in athletics, says Curley idolized Joe, and it was clear early on, long before he got the job as athletic director at the end of 1993, that Paterno was grooming him for something bigger.

He felt the stress. “I never saw a guy’s hair go gray so fast as Tim’s,” his faculty friend says. “I know he disagreed with certain things [Paterno did]. But he took the company line. Joe knew he would. The number one trait of the job was absolute loyalty.” Even if Curley was Paterno’s boss.

Curley sent an email to the athletic department one season. A new floor had just been laid in the indoor sports complex. Curley directed that no water bottles, cleats, chalk or anything else that might mar the new floor be taken into the facility. And yet a couple days later, the end-of-year football banquet was held there. Steaks, beer—you name it—hit the new floor.

Curley’s friend emailed him: “Who’s going to tell Joe to stop using the facility?”

“Ha!” Curley emailed back. He understood the absurdity of his role, at any rate.

Graham Spanier spent a decade and a half in a different two-step with Joe Paterno. When Spanier came to Penn State in 1995, he knew that at some point he’d have to deal with the 68-year-old coach leaving, and that he might even have to push him out. It was a big headache, but suggested a possibility, too. Big-time alum Anthony Lubrano heard Spanier say it several times, with a certain pride: “I’m going to be the president to replace Joe Paterno.”

Spanier has a doctorate in sociology and was trained as a family therapist—his interest in therapy likely stemming from his childhood in Chicago. Several times when Spanier was a boy, his father beat him up, breaking his nose, which is notably long and flat; a few years ago, he had surgery to relieve a breathing problem presumably caused by the abuse. Michael Oriard, an associate dean at Oregon State University whose family has taken many camping trips with Spanier’s, says the only time he’s ever seen Graham angry was during one trip, when a teenage boy punched Oriard’s son. Spanier simply couldn’t abide a child getting hurt.

As president, Spanier was endlessly energetic, often answering emails until two or three in the morning. He made moves right out of the chute that changed Penn State academically—that, in fact, helped lift the school to the standards Paterno had called for. He promoted Rod Erickson (now president) to provost and brought in a number of new deans. He created an honors college that ratcheted up the school’s academic cachet; the endowment more than doubled.

It brought him attention, and he reveled in it. Before every home football game, Spanier hosted his own tailgate party, with perhaps 600 people attending. As the guests mingled, a pep band would march in, with a couple of horns, some drums; the last person to enter would be Graham Spanier, pounding away on a big bass drum strapped over his shoulders. And after the school’s nationally ranked baton twirlers performed, Graham­ would grab a baton and give that a whirl. He was a natural showman.

Yet Spanier had a continuing problem: His football coach was getting older and older. And not going anywhere. Worse, the coach was much more famous—and more important to the university—than Graham Spanier. And after 2004, Spanier knew there was nothing he could do about that.

A close friend of Joe Paterno’s told me a story: “Spanier would take big donors down before the game, while the team was warming up, and introduce them to Joe. Once, he took a certain ex-player down on the field, wooing this guy for big money. Spanier brought the guy to Paterno, and Joe said: ‘I heard he’s a good businessman. He was an ordinary fullback for me.’”

Did Spanier get his money from the guy?


JOE PATERNO, GRAHAM SPANIER AND TIM CURLEY would all miss or ignore—or possibly hide—what Jerry Sandusky is accused of doing to young boys. One of the big unanswered questions is what they might have known before Mike McQueary went to Paterno on that Saturday morning in 2002.

Back in 1998, university police investigated a complaint a mother of a boy brought against Sandusky, going so far as to listen in on a phone conversation between the mother and the coach in which he said, “I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. … I wish I were dead.”

No charges were filed, but the case generated a lengthy university police report. Joe’s son Scott and others around Paterno have said the coach knew nothing about that investigation.

Many Paterno watchers, citing how he knew everything that went on in his program, find that claim of ignorance laughable. Jerry Sandusky retired abruptly in 1999, a year after the investigation, at age 55, at the height of his powers as a ballyhooed football mind. Supposedly he wanted to devote more energy to his Second Mile charity. Apparently he’d been told by Paterno that he would never be his successor as head coach. But just why Paterno told him that is an open question. When Sandusky left, the friend who’s been close to Tim Curley for more than 40 years told the A.D. he was surprised the coach was gone.

“It’s for a very good reason,” Curley told him—but he wouldn’t elaborate. (I attempted to talk to Curley, but he hasn’t spoken to the media since the scandal broke.)

Moreover, someone who knows the Paternos well told me—reluctantly—that a person whose last name begins with P-A-T (a Paterno, obviously, though not Joe) told him at least four years ago that “Jerry Sandusky didn’t get along well with little boys.”

Joe Paterno claimed he never fully understood what McQueary was telling him that Saturday morning in 2002. But it sounds like some of the Paternos may have had a pretty good idea of Sandusky’s behavior.

There’s much we don’t know. Regardless, unless some bald cover-up emerges in one of the ongoing investigations or trials, this sort of speculation of who knew what when is ultimately beside the point.

It’s much more important to realize that any number of people—Joe Paterno, Graham­ Spanier and Tim Curley prominent among them—could have looked deeper into whatever they heard about Jerry Sandusky. But they chose not to.

ONE OF THE STUNNING ASPECTS of the Sandusky scandal was Graham Spanier’s seeming inability to grasp the seriousness of the crisis as it built last fall. He had allegedly signed off on Tim Curley’s decision, in 2002, to ban Sandusky from bringing children onto campus (which Curley admitted was unenforceable). He was well aware, of course, of the three-year grand jury investigation into Sandusky; he testified. But the trustees say he gave them only the most cursory heads-up about it, and when the indictments of Curley and Schultz for lying to the grand jury were announced, Spanier publicly proclaimed his “unconditional support” for them.

Spanier’s friends shake their heads. What happened? Did he go brain-dead?

A surprisingly simple answer to that comes from Richard Gelles, the dean of the Penn School of Social Policy & Practice, who knows Spanier well and thinks the world of him. Gelles says that 40 years ago he worked in a hospital. It was known that an employee there had molested his own 13-year-old daughter. But he was never reported. Because he happened to be head of a department.

There is a reluctance, Gelles explains, “to report way up,” to embroil our highest superiors in something so low and ugly. We might be afraid to, certainly, but we also may have trouble believing in the guilt of our betters.

Is that what made Spanier blind to the oncoming train wreck of the Sandusky indictment? A half-dozen people close to Spanier all say that if he believed a child had been raped on his campus, he would have acted immediately. It seems quite plausible that he simply couldn’t wrap his mind around the possibility of something so heinous emanating from Joe Paterno’s football program—though clearly not out of any love for the coach. It looks much more like an inability even to consider diving into the nexus of Paterno’s power.

As for Tim Curley, well, it’s pretty obvious he was going to weigh whatever his boss—excuse me, his subordinate—wanted, and then lean hard in that direction. What would Joe want me to do?

Curley simply didn’t know how to say no. His office supplied football tickets to Jerry and Dottie Sandusky, and there they were at the Illinois game—hobnobbing in a suite with big-time donors and other PSU big shots—a week before the scandal broke. Even though, by that point, Tim Curley surely knew what was about to hit Happy Valley.

AS JOE PATERNO LAY NEAR DEATH in the hospital in mid-January, his son Jay leaned close and whispered, “Dad, you won. You did all you could. … You can go home now.”

Paterno had met his fate, apropos of his beloved Virgil: He fulfilled his duty. A molder of a team, of men, of a university, of a new place in a beautiful valley.

But along the way, he’d forgotten his own fallibility. On a winter night back in early 1983, just hours after Paterno had won his first national championship, he stood in his hotel suite in New Orleans, overlooking the Mississippi, and said to a writer: “I know I can be a real pain in the ass. … The best thing any person in authority can do is make sure he has enough people around him to tell him when he’s acting like a pompous jackass. I’ve always tried to surround myself with people who can soften my impact.”

Joe Paterno was either kidding himself or blowing smoke. Perhaps his wife Sue would tell him when he was a jackass at home, in their humble rancher just north of campus. Perhaps his brother George could write him a letter, though George died of a heart attack in 2002. In fact, there was no one.

JoePa got so big that when evil lurked, hiding in plain sight, no one saw it. Because he couldn’t let go. It was new president Rod Erickson who unwittingly damned the culture Paterno had created when he said: “Never again should anyone at Penn State feel scared to do the right thing.” In the end, Paterno succumbed to the most human of all traits: The wonderful thing that he created became him, and no one could touch that.

Still: On the day of JoePa’s funeral, Jimmy Cefalo—Paterno’s former player—cried a little as he remembered something much more recent: He saw Joe at a luncheon a year ago, and his old coach asked how Gertie and Charles were doing—he remembered Cefalo’s parents’ names after almost 40 years. When Gertie died months later, Paterno called him: He was very sorry to hear about Jimmy’s mother’s passing. “Do you have any wonder why we are so loyal to him?” Cefalo said.

The same goes for students, and the vast number of alumni: He cared enough to give us an idea about ourselves. And we, too, became part of the power of the culture surrounding Joe Paterno.

After his funeral on campus, students, and alumni who had driven in, and a few hundred players current and past lined the streets of campus and College Avenue; thousands watched, on a cool gray day, as Joe Paterno’s hearse slowly rolled by.

When it slipped past Old Main, there was silence, save for the tolling of the tower bell. Then he was gone, and the crowd dispersed slowly, still silent, all the JoePa mourners returning to lives that he had, in some measure, helped create.


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