scott paterno

Joe Paterno’s Last Season

A preview of GQ’s forthcoming book excerpt from sportswriter Joe Posnanski’s hotly anticipated—and already controversial, even pre-publication—authorized biography of the disgraced Penn State football coach.

Paterno’s son, Scott, reads the grand jury case against Sandusky for the first time:

Scott Paterno was the first in the family to understand that the Pennsylvania grand jury presentment that indicted Jerry Sandusky could end his father’s career. This wasn’t surprising; Scott tended to be the most realistic—or cynical, depending on who you asked—in the family. He had run for Congress and lost and along the way tasted the allure and nastiness of public life. He had worked as a lawyer and as a lobbyist. He would sometimes tell people, “Hey, don’t kid yourself, I’m the asshole of the family.” When Scott read the presentment, he called his father and said, “Dad, you have to face the possibility that you will never coach another game.”


Despite horrific allegations and how his year ended, they say all good things have to come to an end. PSU head football coach, Joe Paterno will go down in history as the winning-est coach in NCAA Division I history, that is certainly one thing that can’t be taken from him. Although his reputation slightly tarnished at the close of what was the final chapter at Penn State University, he became a legend.

You wouldn’t have to have ever caught a single game of JoePa’s (a nickname his players gave to him, because they saw him as a father figure). All you have to do is witness the out pouring of love that resonated at his viewing. Thousands lined up in the snowy sidewalks in University Park to pay their respect to their favorite coach and dear friend. The three hour wait is worth it to the thousands of mourners who consist of years of players, from past and present, to friends, and family.

Greeting each mourner, Joe’s family: Jay and Scott, their three siblings, along side their mother, Sue, embracing years of Joe’s other sons who he coached on and off the field. Each of them having a unique experience or a story about the legendary man who encouraged some to go to “law school” and others to “go pro”.

Paterno’s sons relish in their father’s final memories recalling the final days of his life. Many claim that JoePa died of a broken heart after being fired by the school he gave his heart and life too, but sons Scott and Jay will tell anyone that that is “Simply, not true.” It may have come as a shock to him, but the photo his family has on his 85th birthday says otherwise.

“I’m the luckiest man, I know,” JoePa said while celebrating with his whole family on what would inevitably be his last birthday celebration.

Joe Paterno died at the age of 85 from cancer. As the sports world mourns this devastating loss, it’s almost certain that his presence will be felt at Penn State for ever. GO NITTANY LIONS!