Joe Paterno dies at 85

By Shawn Annarelli

Joe Paterno died at approximately 9:25 a.m. this morning less than 24 hours after doctors updated his stats to serious condition.

“Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications,” spokesman Dan McGinn said in a brief statement, according to The Associated Press. “His doctors have now characterized his status as serious…His family will have no comment on the situation and asks that their privacy be respected during this difficult time.”

Blue White Illustrated reported that family and friends of Paterno were summoned to the hospital not long after his condition was updated to serious last night.

Paterno headed Penn State’s football program for 46 years and won an NCAA record 409 games. Thirty-seven of those teams played in bowl games, and 24 won, each an NCAA coaching record.

Paterno also coached 78 All-Americans and 47 Academic All-Americans, 15 of which played in the last five seasons. The graduation rate of Paterno’s players was consistently among the best in the nation. Eighty percent of Penn State football players have graduated in six years or less, which is currently first among Division I football teams.

Paterno’s best years were 1993 and 1999 when he built seven consecutive teams that won at least nine games, and the program went 6-1 in bowl games. The 1994 Nittany Lions went undefeated and finished the season ranked second in the nation, but PennStatedid not play for the national championship despite being ranked first or second in the nation for the last six weeks of regular season.

He coached two national championship teams in 1982 and 1986 and coached five undefeated teams in total.

Paterno and his wife Sue donated so much money back toPenn State that the school named its library the Pattee-Paterno Library. The funding for the Paterno Library, an extension of the Pattee Library, began in 1983 in light of Paterno’s first national championship victory. In 1983, Penn State’s Board of Trustees honored Paterno for his team’s national championship with a dinner, and he took the opportunity to speak to the Board of Trustees about building another library. Seventeen years later, in 2000, Paterno’s vision for a bigger and better library for students became a reality, and the school’s library renovations were completed and opened for students.

Paterno had been in the hospital receiving treatments for lung cancer over the last two months since being fired by the Board of Trustees.

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