JoePa Apparently Senile As Far Back As 1998

Submitted by BigBlue02 on January 14th, 2012 at 8:11 PM

Reading through this article, I am absolutely amazed people think that JoePa was just fine running things at PSU.  How on earth can a college head football coach not know that his defensive coordinator was being not only accused of but investigated for child molestation (as JoePa claims he knew nothing of the Sandusky happenings in 1998)?  I am also wondering how he can seriously say he didn't even know what the charges in he didn't understand how a rape could happen with Sandusky and young boy. I detest JoePa even more after this interview.



snarling wolverine

January 14th, 2012 at 8:31 PM ^

I have heard stories about JoePa having some "senior moments" when he was coaching around that time, though.  I knew a guy (friend of a friend) who was one of our ballboys who stood on the opposing sideline during the late '90s.  He got to see and hear opposing coaches up close.  At one point in either the '98 or '99 game against us, JoePa got frustrated with his defense and started screaming "Conlan!  Get Conlan in there!"  

The Conlan he was referring to (Shane Conlan) played at PSU in the mid-1980s.


January 14th, 2012 at 9:54 PM ^

I stood on the PSU sideline in 2005, in and around the bench for 1 game. I saw nothing out of the ordinary for a college coach behavior from JoePa. Sure the assistants, especially McQueary, were doing a lot of the coaching. But JoePa was leading no differently than our coaches were on the oppo sideline. I know I know, "cool story bro" but I'm just saying, he didn't seem senile.

snarling wolverine

January 15th, 2012 at 12:29 PM ^

I don't think he had full-blown Alzheimer's or anything.  But it wouldn't be shocking to see a man in his 70s, in a position this stressful, having some lapses here and there that a younger man wouldn't.  That Conlan story is pretty bad.  Can you imagine Hoke calling for Woodson to come in and replace Countess?


January 15th, 2012 at 9:38 AM ^

I didn't know my father was in court for a malpractice lawsuit, and that's my dad.  I'm not senile and I'd like to hope I'm not too stupid.  I'm sure if my dad lost the case, I would have heard about it, but he didn't, so I didn't hear about it until years later when he felt like telling me.

JoePa could have been in the dark in '98.


January 15th, 2012 at 2:25 PM ^

 I am usually the one that believes, “Never assume anything!”  BUT in the case; Given the high-visibility, loyal alumni, insider information, and “closed-door” meetings that surely go along with powerful coaches and people of influence; not having knowledge of an investigation in this instance is very unbelievable.

 Have personally seen similar situations in the military and pentagon. Am sure there are many loyal PSU friends and alumni in the halls of Pennsylvania government and other high venues of law enforcement as there are UMich alumni in MI government (ie. Mike Cox) If a similar situation happened here years ago, do you seriously think that some high placed friend loyal to Bo, wouldn’t have told him to distance himself or at least alert him so he didn’t get blind-sided by the fall-out?

 So doubt he didn’t have some inkling of some sort of trouble. I feel very sorry for the JoPa, but this is hardly some “routine” legal trouble, even something like professional malpractice litigation that can be swept under the rug. The head couch at a university like PSU is MAJOR news and constantly in the spotlight. 


January 14th, 2012 at 8:36 PM ^

It only says that he claimed not to know of abuse allegations levied by a child's mother in 1998 against Sandusky. Whether that is senility or not is interpretation right now. There's not a whole lot that we know about how far gone he is cognitively right now, even if it appears to be quite a bit. I don't want to put words in the piece that aren't there. 

There was, as I recall, a story in the fall, before the scandal broke, where he more or less admitted to being more of a cheerleader for PSU  than a full-fledged coach per se, which at his age and health status I could understand by itself. 

The point I found intriguing was here: "The schools trustees have said they intend to honor Paterno's contract as if he had retired at the end of the 2011 football season."

Apparently, if this is true, he did not lose his tenured status and can still "retire" as a faculty member who had simply been relieved of coaching duties. 


January 14th, 2012 at 8:52 PM ^

The one person at PSU with enough power to out Sandusky? Sorry if I don't feel bad for JoPa. His lack of action directly led to additional kids being molested. Jesus, Sandusky was allowed to be around the program this past fall even after many at PSU were aware of the grand jury report.

turd ferguson

January 14th, 2012 at 8:51 PM ^

There's nothing wrong with that opinion, but if you're going to start a thread like this, you really should read and link to the full Washington Post story.
<br>I've been hard on Paterno, too, but we might have reached the point where his punishment has fit his crime.


January 14th, 2012 at 10:09 PM ^

The punishment definitely didn't fit the crime. He claims that he didn't know what to do with the information back in 2002. Guess what....he had 10 years of seeing Sandusky walk around the PSU facilities to figure out what to do and he didn't. He is a shitty old man that deserves a lot worse than getting "fired" and collecting retirement


January 14th, 2012 at 8:53 PM ^

is that as the PSU president speaks to alumni groups in PA and NY, the majority question the firing of Paterno.  They think he got a bad deal.  I am sure that most of these alums are 30 or 40 years old or older and many probably have 10 year old sons.  How can they still not get it?


January 14th, 2012 at 10:45 PM ^

I have a friend, whom I met in 2003, that was a starting o-lineman for them around that time. When I first met him I asked the obligatory questions about playing for JoePa. His response was that it was the general consensus around the team that JoePa was senile, knew little to nothing about the daily goings on in the program, and could barely string together coherent thoughts while talking with the team. This is not to say that I feel like he has an excuse, rather there is copious anecdotal evidence that JoePa was not exactly lucid dating back almost 20 years ago.

San Diego Mick

January 15th, 2012 at 6:10 AM ^

The whole thing is pathetic really. If he was/is senile then he's gotta be told to retire by the higher ups, no if's, and's or but's about it, it's very simple, they failed in their duties.

Paterno claims he and Sandusky weren't close personally yet he's known him for 50 some odd years and he was his DC for a couple decades, oh yeah that's believable. See I think that's a cop out and he's deflecting responsibility.

So Paterno had to have had inklings about Sandusky from the late 80's on, when he was much younger and less senile probably. He should've canned his ass and told him to GTFO, leave you sick piece of shit, that shouldn't be too difficult when you're a supposed pillar of society w/power out the ying yang.

And even if he wasn't believing these allegations in the early stages, when McQueery came to him in 02', how can he let Sandusky hang around the program for the last decade.


See this is what you would call a pattern, yes a pattern of deriliction of duty and general lack of morality. This is why I'm disgusted with Paterno and his lame reasoning he's trying to bestow upon us, it's all a bunch of BS and I'll tell you what, if Sandusky had done something like that to my kid, I woulda took matters into my own hands, I woulda made his life miserable and then beat the living crap out of him, that's what he deserves and I hope he has many days like that in jail where he'll be recieving and not giving, then he will get his comeuppance.


One more thing, Bill O'Brien was getting credit for beig a great OC w/NE, well so did Weis and McDaniel and what do all 3 have in common that made them great supposedly? His name is Tom Brady, yeah that guy is pretty good. Those 1st 2 guys weren't so great without Brady, we'll have to wait and see how O'Brien will be w/out Brady starting next season.

Victor Hale II

January 15th, 2012 at 8:32 AM ^

said he "was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was ." in order to explain why he didn't continue to press this issue once reported to him.  WTF?


January 15th, 2012 at 10:47 AM ^


"I was afraid to do something that would expose the fact that i've been covering for this pedophile for at least 4 years and if I do something now it's gonna come out that i knew about this sick POS back in 1998 and instead of doing something about it back then like I should have I just forced him to retire early so I would'nt have to be directly associated with a child rapist any longer."

Or something like that anyways.


January 16th, 2012 at 1:22 AM ^

I'm sorry that some people on this board continue to struggle to make judgements that aren't wrapped up in their uncontrolled emotions, but let the statement stand as is. Or, lets actually provide context to it. 

There is this thing in our country called a legal process. Innocent until proven guilty. It's really a novel concept. When one goes to trial, the defendant has rights, and the defense has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt he's guilty. The whole investigative process has to be followed correctly, and if not, those things can plant doubt in a jury, or a judge can determine that information or the way information was obtained is not legal and prevents the defendant from receiving a fair trial (or their rights were violated). 

If Joe Paterno doesn't report this to his supervisors, which was the explicit policy for such actions at Penn State in 2002, then he could have provided a means for which charges against Sandusky are dropped, and he continues to rape young boys - allegedly. 

At this point your interpretation is just as likely as mine. You can argue they aren't, but you're assumption would still involve speculation. 

Sandusky and Paterno were distant. Just because you work with someone for a long time doesn't mean you're close. I know that seems hard to believe, but do you think that Nick Saban is close with many, if any of his assistants? Probably few. Sandusky did his job, and Paterno his. Considering the story that has been consistent since Sandusky's retirement in 1998, it doesn't seem as if Paterno and him got along. That's possible. Or at least they were civil, could coach together, and that was that. It worked because they won. It wouldn't be the first time that type of relationship existed. However, we dont' know anything more.

If an investigation occurred in 1998, it's possible that unless Paterno was a witness to any of the claims, he wouldn't be asked about it. Nor, would you tell your football coach about it if he's busy winning games and competing for national titles - which Penn State was at that time. Maybe, maybe not. No charges were filed, so a football crazed town went on with life. Besides, it's plausible deniability. It happens alot. Dont' tell, he can't be responsible. 13 years ago, things were still different in the way the media ran after stories like these and even the public outrage would be different.  Again, my speculation is no more valid than yours. 

Paterno is from an older generation, where even normal sexual activity wasn't consistently or publicly discussed. Now we have a young coach telling him, or not telling him about his former assistant anal raping a boy. That kind of stuff blows your mind. Seeing it is horrific, I can only imagine. This is where I state what I've said before, anyone on this board or anywhere who has not been in that situation before can only speculate as to what they might do. What you'd actually do - you have NO clue. Dont' tell me what you want to do, you don't know. This is part of why life is unpredictable. So stop your santimonious, male testosterone chest beating. It's unrealistic. I hope you would do the right thing. I've seen too many honorable men falter in such situations. Maybe you're better. I don't know, Again, speculation. But it's apparent Joe was clueless, as I think most men or women of that generation would be. Not an excuse, just a reality.

Did Joe fail? Yes. Was he malicious? Hard to say. 

As for those claiming he was senile because you have a friend ... i have plenty of friends who played college sports who have embellished or lied about their performances. Game winning tackles, kicks, passes, catches, runs, hits, baskets, blocks, dives, sprints, kicks, goals, saves, etc ... many of which were never true, or slightly true. People claim they got paid, got laid by escorts during recruiting trips, this coach did this, this guy did that ... etc, etc. Heck, we don't even know if the infamous David Terrell story is true or not, but it caught on, didn't it. 

As for the former staffer who said Paterno tried to control all things. We don't know for sure, nor do we know that trying to discipline players his way is = to this. In this case he clearly passed the buck, but maybe he thought it was the right thing, but kids missing curfew, drinking underage (no one does that in college), getting into fights (ditto), or even involved in petty theft (ditto again), he might have thought he could do it. However, this does seem inconsistent with chain of command. Then again, if you don't even understand how a man could rape a boy, you probably don't want to jump in either. 

All I know is that I don't know enough still, and we might never. I'm not Woj at ESPN who goes off half-cocked, or a blogger, or someone making comments. Emotional responses filled with assumptions won't help us prevent this from happening again (nothing probably will - but it can minimize the occurrances), but rational thought will. 


January 15th, 2012 at 11:34 AM ^


"I was afraid to do something that might hurt the football program."

That's why Penn St is in the predicament it is right now.  The board and the president put football above everything else at Penn St.  It's been reported before that when situations occured with the football players where punishment was called for Paterno blackmailed the university.  He told them to leave his football players alone or he would stop fund raising activities.


January 15th, 2012 at 1:53 PM ^

Saying you didn't know a male could be raped is not a good defense.  He still went about his regular life for another 9 years knowing that Sandusky was on campus (they must have passed each other hundreds of times).  I can't get over that last part.  This is a man who has 17 grandchildren.  For JoePa not to do more than he did, there are no words.  I can understand being shocked.  I can understand being disappointed.  I CANNOT understand doing nothing about it.

And I don't believe for a second that he knew NOTHING of the 1998 incident. 


January 15th, 2012 at 4:16 PM ^

I want there to be a huge issue at Penn Styate just from loyalty to Michigan.

That being said, the involuntary gay child abuse is not really something JoePa did wrong.


A guy who came to power in a 60s University system got told "Hey, this former assistant and your friend was in the shower with a younger boy, that don't seem right to me."

"Hmmm...likely innocent, these modern students get all ate up cause of this touchy feelings stuff. Just in case I will tell the AD and the guy in charge of the campus security, or police, or whatever they call them this week, and they can look into it professionally." "Okay, I didn't hear anything back. Must have been nothing. JIC keep him out of the locker rooms."


Sounds totally reasonable for a man in his 70s. Heck, sounds reasonable for anyone.