Joe Paterno’s Health Deteriorating

January 22, 2012 by staff 

Joe Paterno’s Health Deteriorating, Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, shown here with former Purdue head coach Joe Tiller, is hospitalized and in serious condition as a result of his battle with lung cancer.
Ernie Accorsi and Joe Paterno always have been close, dating back to Accorsi’s brief stint as an assistant sports information director at Penn State in the late 1960s.

But Accorsi, a Hershey native and the former New York Giants’ general manager, had not heard Saturday’s news that Paterno, Penn State’s 85-year-old head coach who was fired Nov. 9 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, was not faring well in his battle with lung cancer.

“I’m sorry, I’m a little choked up right now, this is hard for me to talk about,” said Accorsi, who was 27 when he worked at Penn State in 1969.

Paterno remained in serious condition as of late Saturday night at Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College.

Jay Paterno, one of Joe’s three sons and PSU’s former quarterbacks coach, offered this on his Twitter account on Saturday evening: “I appreciate the support and prayers. Joe is continuing to fight.”

As news of Paterno’s deteriorating health spread, PSU students began to gather around the Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium. Many, many former Paterno players, and current PSU players, offered the Paterno family support and their prayers.

Accorsi, who divides his time these days between residences in New York City and Hershey, knew Paterno was sick. But he didn’t know that Paterno’s physical condition had significantly worsened in the last few days.

“This whole thing, this [Jerry Sandusky] scandal, Joe’s illness, has just been devastating to me,” Accorsi said.

“I can tell you that there wasn’t a day that went by during my time at Penn State that I didn’t learning something from that man.”

Anthony Lubrano, a 1982 PSU grad, a prominent PSU donor and a friend of the Paterno family, shared similar sentiments about Paterno, as did Paul McGloin, the father of PSU quarterback Matt McGloin.

“He’s meant a great deal to a lot of people and many of us are going to be devastated if we lose him,” said Lubrano, who lives in Chester County in suburban Philadelphia, of Paterno.

“But his legacy will always live on in all of us. I think the best thing we can do moving forward is to continue to live our lives the way he’s taught us — with integrity and humility.”

“We’re just sick about the latest news,” Paul McGloin said.

“The whole McGloin family is praying for Joe and his family. As I’ve said before, my son Matt and Joe had a special relationship, I think.

“I’ve spoke with Matt several times [Saturday] and he’s depressed and very, very upset.”

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