Often times, it’s easy to look back on unfortunate situations and realize that someone failed to connect the dots.
The Jerry Sandusky allegations are no different.
What we now know: In 1998, Sandusky was investigated on claims that he hugged a boy in a shower. A year later, in the summer of 1999, he retired, just months after Victim 4 described Sandusky as being “upset” when Joe Paterno told him that he would not be the next head coach at Penn State.
In 2002, graduate assistant Mike McQueary walked in on Sandusky having sex with a 10-year-old boy in the shower. He reported the incident to Paterno, who forwarded it along to athletic director Tim Curley and administrator Gary Schultz.
Schultz and Curley barred Sandusky from bringing children onto campus.
What you are about to read are excerpts from a 1999 Sports Illustrated article and a myriad Daily Collegian (Penn State’s student newspaper) stories about Sandusky and other characters in this saga. Most of them tell us nothing new. Instead, they provide numerous anecdotes, quotes, and tidbits about Sandusky (and others) that, in hindsight, are quite haunting. And perhaps most interesting is the fact that after both Sandusky’s retirement and 2002 child raping, he continued to not only “hang around” campus, but also was chosen as the homecoming grand marshal (2000), held an – on campus – event for The Second Mile (2004), and spoke at commencement (2007).
Some of this will make you gasp… but mostly it's just creepy.
1999 Sports Illutstrated article about Sandusky's retirement, his love of children, and how he really won't miss working for Paterno because (figuratively speaking) his nose is everywhere
Who knows how countless others would've ended up had Sandusky's organization not gotten involved. Partly because of his Second Mile responsibilities, Sandusky turned down a prime head coaching opportunity, at Maryland in 1991, and his decision to retire at the end of this season (his last game will be the Dec. 28 Alamo Bowl againstTexas A&M) was partly based on his wanting to get more involved in fund-raising and program development for the organization. "Jerry has always been our heart and soul," says Hank Lesch, Second Mile's vice president of development.
If Sandusky did not have such a human side, there would be a temptation around Happy Valley to canonize him: Saint Sandusky, leader of linebackers, molder of men. Fortunately, it's easier to conjure up an image or Sandusky as a fuming, fussing fire-breather on the sideline, flashing signals like a crazed third base coach, copies of his defensive alignments dangling from his belt like elongated key chains. LaVar Arrington, the ninth All-America linebacker to play under Sandusky, remembers with glee a moment from the Nittany Lions' Sept. 18 game againstMiami in the Orange Bowl when Arrington was taunting the crowd from the sideline. Sandusky lit out after him but tripped on a wire and went sprawling over the bench. "He gets caught up in the moment sometimes," saysArrington.
Because Sandusky is so respected, as a man and as the dean of Linebacker U, there's the impression that it's just fine with him that he has never been a head coach. It's not. "I wouldn't call it devastating," says Sandusky, choosing his words carefully, "but I would call it a little disappointing. That was definitely a goal of mine when I started. If I hadn't had the other part of my life—my family and the Second Mile—I would've been a head coach."
Sandusky had already turned down Marshall and Temple before Maryland came knocking. He says that his three reasons for saying no to the Terrapins were, in order, family, Second Mile commitments and the chance he would get Paterno's job. But as the '90s wore on, Paterno never wore down. Joe Pa says he wants to remain the head man "at least until I'm 75," and only a fool would bet that he won't last a year or two beyond that. On July 1, when Sandusky announced his intention to retire, one of the first calls he received was from Matt Millen, a Penn StateAll-America in 1978, who greeted him with, "It figures that the guy who has been there for 30 years would get out before the guy who has been there for 50." Sandusky says he doesn't second-guess himself about the Maryland decision but allows that even if he had gotten the chance to succeed Paterno, it would not have been an ideal situation. "It would've been like inheriting Papa's business," says Sandusky. ( Tom Bradley, a former Nittany Lions player who is in his 21st year as a Paterno assistant, is more colorful in describing what it's like to follow a legend: "Next guy in always gets whacked.")
Working under Paterno takes something out of a man, too. Sandusky was asked last week if he'll miss Joe Pa. "Well, not exactly," he said. "You have to understand that so much of our time was spent under stress, figuring out how to win. That takes a toll. We've had our battles. I've quit. I've been fired. I've walked around the building to cool off." Paterno says, "I'm not the easiest guy to work with." Millen puts it another way: "Figuratively speaking, that Paterno nose is everywhere."
Still, Paterno is the boss—Sandusky doesn't expect Paterno to solicit his opinion about who should follow him as coordinator—and no doubt part of Sandusky's reason for retiring is that he's tired of being second banana. He's not even coy about his desire still to run a program, any program, perhaps a Division III team or, don't laugh, a midget league basketball team. Sandusky's parents, Art and Evie, ran a recreation center in Washington, Pa., and at heart, E.J. says, Sandusky is "a frustrated playground director." E.J. remembers the kickball games his father organized in the backyard. "Dad would get every single kid involved," says E.J. "We had the largest kickball games in the United States, kickball games with 40 kids."
Says Millen, "A lot of people were surprised when Jerry said he was retiring. Me? I was surprised he stayed that long. Jerry has so many passions and so many gifts besides coaching football—a gift for teaching, a gift for helping, a gift for guiding kids. This is a man with a lot to do."
A 1999 article in the Collegian about Sandusky retiring
On July 1, Sandusky stopped yet another college football personality — himself.
In a decision that shocked Penn State fans, coaches and players alike, he chose to step down from his coaching responsibilities after this season. He will remain with the university as a volunteer for the athletic department's Lifeskills and Outreach programs.
"I'd been thinking for a couple of years about which direction I wanted to go," Sandusky said Aug. 6 at Penn State Football Media Day. "I love coaching. It's been such a huge part of my life, and I love young people."
In explaining the reasons for his departure, the 55-year-old Sandusky said he wants to spend more time with the children who benefit from the charity he founded — The Second Mile. The foundation is an organization designed to serve underprivileged children and teens.
Although he is stepping down as an assistant, Sandusky said his life won't become any less hectic.
"I'm going to be quite occupied. I plan on starting football camps for younger kids, maybe write a book," he said, laughing. "There are a number of things that I can't do with the Second Mile now, so I'll be very occupied and very busy."
"We want to send Jerry out with a bang," Arrington said. "That's the main thing we want to do at this point."
"I had hit a crossroads in my life, and my professional life," said Sandusky. "There were many factors that led to (the decision)."
The announcement came as a shock to many of the Penn State athletic community. Many in the football office, including head coach Joe Paterno, did not know Sandusky had made a final decision.
Sandusky said he had been considering his plans for the future for several years. The difficult choice to retire from coaching had crystallized yesterday on the field of Penn State's high school football camp, but only after careful consideration.
"I love coaching. I love young people," he said. "I also equally love The Second Mile camp. It is an experience that has impacted many things in my life."
Several sources commented that Sandusky has been very committed to The Second Mile for many years. Sandusky founded the organization to help at-risk children in the area. The program, which has helped more than 150,000 children, is expanding to reach more children and demands more of Sandusky's time and energy.
He said frequently in the press conference he greatly enjoys working with The Second Mile and it fulfills his love of working with young people.
"It's an exciting time for The Second Mile," said the organization's president, Jack Raykovitz. "This affords us a great opportunity for (Sandusky) to get out and spread the word about children's welfare," Raykovitz said.
Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley said Sandusky's replacement is not certain. No plans have been made as of yet to choose a new defensive coordinator because the announcement came so suddenly, he said.
When the time comes to find a replacement, Curley said he and Paterno will discuss the options. Defensive backfield coach Tom Bradley is a potential candidate.
Ray Gricar, the DA who investigated Sandusky and later disappeared in 2005, spoke about an unrelated case and how he prosecutes sex offenders
Once victims have reported an instance of sexual assault to police, they do not have to press charges, but Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar may prosecute without their cooperation.
"If I thought the (assailant) was a threat to the community at large, I would try to persuade the victim to cooperate," Gricar said.
Circumstances surrounding the assault would influence Gricar's decision to try the case, including physical evidence, the relationship of the victim and assailant and any other corroborating evidence.
Sandusky awarded for work with children
Sandusky is the founder of the Second Mile, a charitable organization concerned with the welfare of young people throughout Pennsylvania, with more than 100,000 children being touched through the Second Mile's eight programs. His efforts with the organization resulted in his selection as the Pennsylvania winner of the SGMA Heroes award in 1996.
Paterno on Sandusky coaching his last game at Penn State
And now he only has 60 more minutes to coach at Beaver Stadium.
"It's kind of like your son grows up on a potato farm in Ireland and then he leaves you," Paterno said. "Now, that is an exaggeration, but that is what it is like to lose someone that close to your program."
Press conference on Sandusky's replacement called off at the last minute (sound familiar?)
A Joe Paterno teleconference called yesterday afternoon was canceled minutes after it was announced.
Penn State Sports Information announced a 4:30 p.m. press conference with Paterno, who last week signed a five-year contract extension.
The conference was said to be concerning the Nittany Lions football team's coaching staff, and was believed to be concerning the vacant defensive coordinator position.
Penn State Sports Information Director Jeff Nelson said he had no idea why the press conference was called.
"I don't know that," he said when asked if the conference had something to do with the coaching staff.
No makeup date has been scheduled for the conference.
"He (Paterno) said he just needed to cancel it," Nelson said.
Jerry Sandusky had held the defensive coordinator position under the 73-year-old Paterno from 1977 until the end of this season. This summer, Sandusky announced he was stepping down to concentrate his efforts on The Second Mile.
The Second Mile is a charity organization founded by Sandusky that has touched more than 100,000 disadvantaged children. Sandusky capped his 32-year coaching career as he helped the Lions post a 24-0 win in the Alamo Bowl against Texas A&M.
The Lions finished 10-3 in Sandusky's final season.
In 2000, Sandusky talked about why he retired so young
"I still love coaching," he said. "But when I looked at everything and thought about everything, I just wasn't absolutely sure that over a period of five years I would have the same feelings and enthusiasm for what I was doing. I couldn't guarantee that, and the last thing I wanted to do was go in and just put in time. So when I looked at that, I said it's probably best that I do it now."
The decision wasn't an easy one, though.
"He didn't sleep for weeks," Kara said.
His day might be less regimented without the responsibilities that come with coaching a Division I powerhouse, but Sandusky keeps himself busy.
During his first summer as a retiree, he directed football camps for boys (grades 4-9) at Albright, Delaware Valley and Penn State Erie.
He then had four more weeks of camps for The Second Mile, a non-profit organization Sandusky started in 1982 to help underprivileged children. It now serves more than 100,000 boys and girls each year.
Since then, he has been on the road often, making appearances and raising money for the organization. In October, he put the finishing touches on a book, "Touched," about his experiences in coaching and with The Second Mile.
When he's not traveling, Sandusky gets up early to work out. Then, he'll swing by his office, hidden away in the old Lasch Building, which is connected to the Greenberg Sports Complex.
While in the tiny office, decorated with pictures, plaques, news clippings and a bronzed shoe that he wore as a midget football player, Sandusky checks his voice mail and returns the most important calls (his calls are still filtered through the football office, across the street at the new state-of-the-art Lasch Building).
The 6-foot-2, white-haired coach seems at peace behind the small desk. With each telephone conversation, his constant grin gets a little wider, and with every mention of The Second Mile, the smile enlarges and his blue eyes glitter.
From there, Sandusky makes the trek over to The Second Mile office (1402 S. Atherton St.) for meetings about programs, fund-raising, endowment planning and other important issues. Prior to heading home for dinner at 5:30 or 6, Sandusky spends time with Second Mile kids participating in the organization's various programs.
Joe Paterno on a player who was involved in a bar fight in 2000
But Paterno remembered that we live in America, a place where those accused are presumed innocent. Not guilty.
"Just because I can look back and all the times I've met with him and spoken with him, that he knows the type of person I am and how I carry myself," Casey said at the beginning of the season.
"So, just by him believing in me, it means the world to me and to my family."
Coaches are paid to make to make the tough calls. And Paterno has earned his wage because he made the right one.
In 2000, Sandusky is chosen to be grand marshal of Homecoming festivities
If 31 years of exemplary coaching and founding a non-profit charitable organization doesn't make you a legacy, then nothing will.
Retired defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team, Jerry Sandusky, exemplifies this year's Homecoming theme, "The Legacy Lives On. . ." As a result, Sandusky has been chosen to be the grand marshal of Homecoming this year and ride in the parade.
The overall Homecoming committee chose Sandusky to be grand marshal because of Sandusky's total contributions to everyone around him.
"Every year we look for an individual who exemplifies Penn State pride and tradition. Through his involvement in the community, Jerry Sandusky has contributed to the legacy of Penn State pride, honor and tradition," said Jennifer Telischak, overall alumni relations chairperson.
"Jerry Sandusky is a community servant, he is nationally recognized and has integrity and honor," she said.
"He's an excellent choice considering the legacy he's left this university, relative to 'Linebacker U.' and the wins we've had and with the community with Second Mile. It's a tremendous legacy he's built over a long period of time. He has had such loyalty and dedication to the university and the community. I think it's a super choice," Curley said.
Sandusky's reaction to hearing of the theme and being asked to be grand marshal included surprise and amazement.
"I was honored and surprised. I didn't expect it, that they would think of me that way," he said. "I don't think football coaches think of being grand marshals when they think of Homecoming," he added.
As Sandusky's legacy lives on, he would like people to remember him "as a person who enjoyed his moments at Penn State and helped some young people grow and mature into very productive adults and do something with their lives very positively."
In 2004, two years after Sandusky was barred from bringing children onto campus, a carnival was held on campus for Sandusky's Second Mile program
Competitors were invited to a carnival at the Intramural Building for lunch and carnival games. The Second Mile foundation was there with children from the organization as part of a big brother/big sister program. "We run a friend program that pairs collegiate students with children," said Jeremy Fegert, assistant director of programs for the State College office, who added that he was pleased with the turnout. "The carnival was one of the best friend events we've had … it was great that so many college students came."
Lindsay Rule (senior-kinesiology) said she was also excited about the outcome of the event. "This was a great weekend for everyone to come together for the school and for the Second Mile, because all the benefits are going towards their organization," said Rule, a member of the Sesquicentennial Games board of directors.
The Sesquicentennial Celebration ended with closing ceremonies on Sunday afternoon. All the proceeds from the weekend, $2,000 in sporting equipment and $1,600 from fundraising, were donated to the Second Mile. "Without events like this, our organization wouldn't exist," founder Jerry Sandusky said.
[Now would be a good time to point out that Jerry Sandusky made almost $500k from Second Mile after admitting he showered with a boy]
In 2007, Sandusky was one of many speakers at commencement events
Time: 3 p.m.
Place: Bryce Jordan Center
Speaker: Jerry Sandusky, founder of The Second Mile
Sandusky reacts to reports in April of this year
Sandusky is “deeply disappointed in the papers’ decision to publish this information prior to any determination by the Attorney General’s Office that he did anything inappropriate at all,” Amendola said in the release.
“While Jerry has been aware of an ongoing investigation by the Attorney General’s office for many months dating back to 2009, he has steadfastly maintained his innocence throughout this ordeal,” Amendola said in the release.
Also in April, Paterno responds to speculations
It didn’t take long for Joe Paterno to dismiss the speculations surrounding a grand jury investigation involving former long-time defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
With reporters on hand for Paterno’s spring press conference, the 84-year-old looked through his thick glasses, shook his head side to side and didn’t want to waste time talking about the past.
“Well, you know we came here to talk about football and this football team and I don’t have any comment on that,” Paterno said when asked about allegations involving Sandusky indecently assaulting a teenage boy that stemmed from a story that appeared in The Harrisburg Patriot-News on Thursday.