Former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno, 85, Dies


After mistaken reports of his death last night Joe Paterno died this morning, the AP reported. Paterno was 85, and had been suffering from lung cancer. With 409 wins, Paterno had the most career victories among Division I coaches, according to the New York Times obituary, but was fired this past November when the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal hit the campus.

The Washington Post published an interview with Paterno just last week in which he explained his actions and reactions in regards to the allegations against Sandusky.

In a statement posted by the Daily Collegian (h/t) Paterno’s family wrote:

He died as he lived. He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community.

Per Romenesko Onward State, the Penn State student-run news site credited with being the first to falsely report Paterno’s death last night, is continuing news coverage. This morning the founder and general manager of the publication explained in an article what went wrong in their reporting:

…at around 8:00 p.m., one of our writers posted that he had received word from a source that Joe Paterno had died. The source had been forwarded an email ostensibly sent from a high-ranking athletics official (later found to be a hoax) to Penn State athletes with information of Paterno’s passing. A second writer — whom we later found out had not been honest in his information — confirmed to us that the email had been sent to football players. With two independent confirmations of an email announcing his death, managing editor Devon Edwards was confident in the story and hit send on the tweet we had written, informing the world that Joe Paterno had died.

Paterno began his career at Penn State in 1950 and became the team’s head coach in 1966.

[EstherZuckerman / ezwrites]

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