Joe Paterno, affectionately known to his team and the University for which he coached as “JoePa”, died on Januaray 22, 2012. He was the head football coach for the Penn State Nittany Lions from 1996 until 2011.
Paterno attended Brown University, where he played both quarterback and cornerback. He had planned to become an attorney, but when his college coach Rip Engle agreed to take the head coaching position at Penn State, Paterno agreed to become an assistant coach in 1950. When Engle retired, Paterno was named his successor. He coached Penn State to two undefeated seasons in 1968 and 1969, and won two national championships in 1982 and 1986. In 2007 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. His overall record in bowl games was 37 appearances with 24 wins. He turned down both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots to remain the Lions’ coach.
When assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with sexual abuse of children, Paterno claimed to have no knowledge of Sandusky’s crimes. Investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh uncovered two damning facts about Paterno. He had concealed facts about Sandusky’s actions, and had pleaded with the University not to disclose Sandusky’s abuse as early as 2001.
When he was fired in 2011, the NCAA removed Penn States victories from 1998 to 2011, and took away 111 wins which moved Paterno from second most winning coach of all time in the college ranks to 12th.
“JoePa” won almost every NCAA award possible. Until his death from complications of lung cancer in 2012, he was revered by students and faculty of Penn State alike.
The story of Joe Paterno is the ultimate tale of victory and defeat, of success and personal failure. Director Brian De Palma will be rejoined with Al Pacino in the making of “Happy Valley”. The film will be the story of the troubled life of Joe Paterno. De Palma previously directed Pacino in “Scareface”, and “Carlito’s Way”.
Producer Edward R. Pressman said there are no dates as yet for the beginning of filming. When asked about the story line, he gave only a few clues. He said it will be the story of a “complex, intense, and highly righteous man who was destroyed by his own tragic flaws“.
Columnist-The Guardian Express.