Joe Paterno — the legendary former football coach at Penn State University — died this morning at the age of 85 … this according to his family.
His family released a statement that reads, “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.”
The front page of the website for the Penn State athletic department was updated with simply a picture of Paterno (see below).
The Penn State Board of Trustees and University President Rodney Erickson released a statement that reads, “We grieve for the loss of Joe Paterno, a great man who made us a greater university. His dedication to ensuring his players were successful both on the field and in life is legendary and his commitment to education is unmatched in college football. His life, work and generosity will be remembered always.”
Paterno was the coach at Penn State for 46 years, until he was famously fired by the school last November following the sexual abuse allegations against his former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky.
In November 2011, his son Scott announced Paterno had a treatable form of lung cancer.
JoePa, as he was known, holds the record for most victories by a Division I football coach with 405.