Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Book excerpt chronicles Paterno exit
By Brian Bennett
Sportswriter Joe Posnanski sure had some interesting timing.
Last summer, Posnanski -- who was a columnist and senior writer for Sports Illustrated -- decided to move to State College and spend a year working on a biography of Joe Paterno. He had the full cooperation of the Penn State coach but had no idea of the storm that was coming.
Posnanski's book, Paterno, is due out Aug. 21. It's questionable how much new material the book will have about the Sandusky scandal, which enveloped whatever narrative Posnanksi might have begun. GQ has three brief passages from the book today that covers the week that the Sandusky grand jury testimony was revealed and when Paterno was fired by the school's board of trustees.
In one, Paterno's son, Scott, is quoted as telling his father that he may have coached his last game immediately after he read the grand jury testimony. In another, the Paterno family is frantically searching for some support among the trustees, with the help of PR specialist Dan McGinn and family adviser Guido D'Elia.
"One person on the board, that's all we need," McGinn said.
D'Elia shook his head again. "It began in 2004," he whispered, referring to an old clash Paterno had with [university president Graham] Spanier. "The board started to turn. We don't have anybody on the board now."
That's when McGinn realized that this was going to be the worst day of Joe Paterno's professional life.
The final passage chronicles the day after Paterno was fired. According to the book, the coach "sobbed uncontrollably" as he met with his assistants and broke down when former player Brandon Short stopped by.
"My name," he told Jay [Paterno], "I have spent my whole life trying to make that name mean something. And now it's gone."
GQ will run a longer excerpt of the book on Monday. Again, it's unclear how much actual new material will be in the book, and some feel Posnanski -- a staunch Paterno defender when the Sandusky scandal broke -- may have been too close to his subject. But since we have no way of hearing from the late Paterno anymore, whatever's in the book is sure to be dissected and analyzed.