(MCT) — Joe Paterno, the Ivy League-educated coach who transformed sleepy Penn State University into a national football power with an academics-based philosophy only to see his career end abruptly and his legacy tarnished by a child sex abuse scandal involving a former assistant coach, has died. He was 85.
Paterno died Sunday morning in State College, Pa., his family announced.
He was diagnosed with lung cancer in November, only days after Penn State’s board of trustees fired the legendary coach in the wake of the arrest of his former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, on multiple felony counts of sexual abuse of boys.
Paterno was not implicated in a grand jury’s indictment of Sandusky but was criticized for not acting more aggressively in 2002 after a graduate assistant informed Paterno he saw Sandusky sexually molest a boy in a locker room shower at Penn State.
Paterno had fulfilled his legal obligation by passing the information on to his superior, athletic director Tim Curley.
Paterno’s inglorious exit shocked a community that watched him rise from a young assistant to become a national icon.