A Joe Paterno book due out later this month will reveal intimate details of the tarnished coach’s final months, a time plagued by scandal over allegations that he failed to turn in assistant coach Jerry Sandusky for child abuse claims.
Joe Posnaski, author of the Paterno book, detailed what Paterno felt in those days, writing that the firing from Penn State crushed the former head coach, the Washington Post reported.
“[The day after he was fired last November] Paterno met with his coaches at his house. He sobbed uncontrollably. This was his bad day. Later, one of his former captains, Brandon Short, stopped by the house. When Brandon asked, ‘How are you doing, Coach?’ Paterno answered, ‘I’m okay,’ but the last syllable was shaky, muffled by crying, and then he broke down and said, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself.’ Nobody knew how to handle such emotion. Joe had always seemed invulnerable. On Thursday, though, he cried continually.”
The Paterno book also detailed the impact the firing had on the Paterno family. Scott Paterno, who had run for Congress and seen the dangers and nastiness of public life, called his father shortly after the scandal and put it bluntly, the Paterno book said:
“(Scott) would sometimes tell people, ‘Hey, don’t kid yourself, I’m the [expletive] of the family.’ When Scott read the presentment, he called his father and said, ‘Dad, you have to face the possibility that you will never coach another game.’ “
As the scandal was breaking the family hired a PR specialist, Dan McGinn, to help stay ahead of the situation. As the Paterno book recalled how McGinn found out that the Paterno family no longer had the support of the university’s trustees, and “that’s when McGinn realized that this was going to be the worst day of Joe Paterno’s professional life.”
Paterno’s devastation would continue the week after his firing, when he would be diagnosed with lung cancer. The Paterno book wrote that in his final days the coach knew that his legacy would never be restored, saying: “I have spent my whole life trying to make that name mean something. And now it’s gone.”