PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — After his long and illustrious career as head coach of the Nittany Lions came to an abrupt end in November, Joe Paterno has given his first extensive interview to The Washington Post.
It comes in the aftermath of the child sexual abuse scandal that has rocked Penn State University.
After receiving both chemotherapy and radiation in recent weeks, the octogenarian coach appears thin, his voice sounds weak and was in a wheelchair.
Paterno was asked about his reaction when he was informed that retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky may have had sexual contact with a juvenile in a shower in the Penn State locker room. He claimed coach Mike McQueary was never specific about what he witnessed.
“And then, I called my superiors and I said, ‘Hey, we got a problem, I think. Would you guys look into in?’ Cause I didn’t know, you know… I had never had to deal with something like that. And I didn’t feel adequate,” Paterno said in the interview.
Paterno claimed he was totally in the dark about a 1998 investigation into a reported incident in which Sandusky allegedly had contact with another boy away from the Penn State campus.
In the Washington Post interview, Paterno did not want to comment specifically on Sandusky, explaining that he wanted the legal process to play itself out.
He said he and Sandusky may have worked together on the football field for decades, but they were never close.
As for his 61 years in Happy Valley, Paterno said in the interview: “I’ve had a wonderful experience here at Penn State. I don’t want to walk away from this thing bitter.”
Paterno spoke with The Washington Post before he was hospitalized again Friday.
The Paterno family says he’s been admitted for observation due to minor complications from cancer treatments. He suffers from what’s being called a treatable form of lung cancer.
MORE: KDKA Coverage Of The Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal
WARNING Contains Graphic Material: New Grand Jury Presentment (12/7)
WARNING Contains Graphic Material: Read The Entire Grand Jury Presentment
LINK: Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office
LINK: Penn State Nittany Lions