By Laura Morgan
Ten and a half years ago, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno went from beloved figure to radioactive in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual assault scandal.
And he was fired on the telephone by the gutless board of trustees.
And on April 18, a new episode of ESPN E60 looks at “The Paterno Legacy,” which will premiere at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and will be available afterward via streaming on demand on ESPN+ and the ESPN App.
Paterno was the winningest coach in major college football history and a two-time national champion. He was “Joe Pa,” celebrated as much for the lives he shaped off the field as the wins that he tallied on it.
The allegations of sexual abuse of minors leveled against former Penn State assistant coach Sandusky in the fall of 2011 cast a dark shadow on the university, the football program, and Paterno. The legendary coach was cast out and his legacy, which he had spent decades building, was in tatters.
The program includes interviews with many who were involved or directly affected by the events of 10 years ago, including Sandusky, who speaks with E60’s John Barr from prison where he is serving a sentence of 30 to 60 years after being convicted in 2012 on 45 counts of child sexual abuse.
Among others interviewed:
Jay Paterno – son of Joe Paterno.
Graham Spanier – former Penn State University president.
Gary Schultz — former Senior Vice-President Finance and Business, Penn State University.
Matt McGloin — Penn State player under Joe Paterno, 2009-2011.
Mike Wallace — Penn State player under Joe Paterno, 2009-2011.
Matt Millen — NFL Broadcaster, executive, player; Penn State player under Paterno, 1976-79.
Aaron Fisher — “Victim 1” in the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse case.
Tom Kline — attorney representing “Victim 5” in Sandusky sex-abuse case.
Mark Dyreson — Co-Director, Penn State Center for the Study of Sports in Society.
Bob Costas – sports anchor and journalist.
Howard Bryant — author and sports journalist.