Among the 12 names on this year’s list of inductees into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame is one that, for a time, was getting frantically scrubbed from every trophy, award and history book in college football: Joe Paterno.
Penn State Athletics announced Tuesday that the legendary — and then legendarily disgraced — football coach would be inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in October.
Paterno’s storied, 62-year career coaching Penn State’s Nittany Lions included a record 409 victories and two national championships. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006, while he was still coaching Penn State.
But he was ousted in disgrace after his longtime assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, was found to have sexually abused at least eight young boys. Penn State leaders, including Paterno, were accused of failing to protect the children from Sandusky and then covering up the crimes.
Paterno, 85, was affectionally known as “JoPa,” and had been practically deified among Penn State students and alumni. He died from lung cancer complications two months after he was fired in 2011.
In the time between his firing and death, Paterno had 112 wins stripped from his record as part of the sanctions against Penn State for the Sandusky scandal. Paterno’s name was removed from the Big Ten championship trophy and references to him werewiped from sports awards and conferences named in his honor.
Calls to Paterno’s son Jay, who has vigorously defended his father’s legacy and who is expected to accept the Hall of Fame award on his father’s behalf, were not immediately returned.
Jay Paterno, now a Pennsylvania lawmaker, has been working to restore his father’s legacy. He wants to name a bridge in his father’s honor. Paterno’s 112 wins were restored earlier this year.
“I have no doubt that at the right time, as some of the legal issues have been sorted through, Penn State will honor not only Joe Paterno’s legacy, but the Paterno family’s legacy,” Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said last month.
What that legacy will be remains to be answered:
50 years from now I wonder how ppl will remember Joe Paterno legacy
— D.0.P.£ (@damo0211) July 23, 2012
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Source: HuffingtonPost Sports
Joe Paterno To Enter Pennsylvania Hall Of Fame Despite Career-Ending Penn State Football Scandal