Paterno family adjusts to new era at Penn State

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Lawyer and former Penn State defensive back Adam Taliaferro, now a university trustee, grew close to the Paternos after suffering a serious spinal cord injury in a game against Ohio State in 2000. He said he spoke to Sue inside the football building while fans rallied outside and told the AP she was “one of the strongest women I know.”

“All of us together will help her get through it,” Taliaferro said. “She will always remain a huge part of the university.”

Paterno started with Penn State as an assistant coach in 1950, becoming head coach in 1966.

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh’s university-commissioned report in July said Paterno and three other school officials concealed allegations against Sandusky. Ten days later, the school took down the bronzed statue of Paterno outside Beaver Stadium.

Then, the NCAA announced it had accepted the findings and levied unprecedented penalties on the program including a four-year bowl ban, significant scholarship cuts and a $60 million fine. The NCAA vacated every Penn State win from 1998-2011, and Paterno was stripped of 111 career victories _ meaning he no longer holds the record for most coaching wins in major college football.

Paterno, who was diagnosed with lung cancer days after his firing, was not interviewed by Freeh’s team, and the family said the NCAA had not contacted the family or the family’s attorney. He died in January.

The family has said university leadership and the NCAA accepted Freeh’s conclusions in a rush to judgment, without due process and a questioning of the findings. They vowed after Freeh released his findings that they would conduct their own investigation, which is ongoing, McGinn said.

“They’re not looking for sympathy,” McGinn said when asked how the Paternos have reacted to criticism. “The family is very stoic about this. The intent is just that the complete truth comes out.”

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