Despite the University Police conducting an investigation of several allegations of sexually abusing boys just the year before, Penn State made Sandusky out as a hero when he retired and continued to let him bring young boys around the athletic facilities.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., July 1, 1999 — Long-time defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, the senior member of Coach Joe Paterno’s Penn State staff, will retire following the 1999 football season, athletic director Tim Curley announced today.
Curley said that Sandusky–the founder of The Second Mile, a charitable organization that addresses the welfare of children–will continue to offer his services on a volunteer basis to the athletic department’s Lifeskills and Outreach programs.
“Football coaching has been a wonderful career because it has brought me into contact with so many exceptional young people,” Sandusky said. “The opportunity to impact the lives of the many student-athletes who’ve come through the program has been one of the great rewards for me. Penn State football is special because of the sense of family established by those associated with the program today and those players, coaches and staff who’ve been part of it over the years.
“Retiring as an active coach will permit me to devote more time to The Second Mile. As the organization has grown, the demands for my hands-on involvement have increased dramatically. The staff has done a marvelous job of building the organization, which now touches more than 150,000 children annually through eight different programs. I’m anxious to devote my full-time energies to expanding the reach and influence of The Second Mile in a day and age when more and more kids seem to be at risk.
“I’m looking forward to the 1999 season,” Sanduky said. “We have an opportunity to be a good football team if our players can continue to develop their athletic skills and to maintain their focus on the things that are important to team success. I won’t permit my personal situation to be a distraction in any fashion.”
Sandusky said he elected to make the announcement prior to the season to take advantage of a retirement option available to long-time Penn State employees only for a limited time.
“We can’t say enough about what he has brought to the football program as an exceptional coach, a fine player and a person of great character and integrity,” head coach Joe Paterno said. “The success that the Nittany Lions have enjoyed over the last three decades is due in large part to the contribution of people on our coaching staff like Jerry Sandusky Jerry always has dreamed big dreams and, as he’s proven with The Second Mile, he’s someone who can turn hope into reality.”
“Jerry Sandusky has been an integral part of Penn State since his days as an undergraduate,” Curley said. “He is someone who has set a tone in his professional and personal life that is an inspiration to everyone inside and outside the program. His success as a coach is authenticated by the numerous All-America players he has developed over three decades. His achievement as a human being is splendidly demonstrated by the thousands of youngsters he touches annually through The Second Mile.
“I’m pleased that following the conclusion of his coaching career, Jerry has agreed to continue a close relationship with the athletic department by volunteeering his leadership skills to assist the continuing development of our current Nagle Champs Lifeskills and Continuing Outreach programs.”
A 1966 Penn State graduate, Sandusky’s defensive game-plans have been hailed in both of the Nittany Lions’ National Championship games.
Penn State held Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker to an average gain of 3.6 yards per carry, well below his season average of 5.2, in the Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia for the 1982 National title.
Miami’s Vinny Testaverde, another Heisman winner, found frustration at every turn in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl as Sandusky’s defenders intercepted a season-high five passes and checked the Heisman winner without a touchdown pass for the only time that season. Athlon Publications named Sandusky the nation’s 1986 Assistant Coach-of-the-Year.
Most recently, Sandusky’s defensive scheme held Kentucky’s high-powered All-American Tim Couch in check as the Lions put the wraps on the Wildcats 26-14 in the Outback Bowl on January 1.
Nine of Sandusky’s linebackers have won first-team All-America honors: Jack Ham (1970), Charlie Zapiec (1971), John Skorupan (1972), Ed O’Neil (1973), Greg Buttle (1975), Kurt Allerman (1976), Shane Conlan (1985-86), Andre Collins (1989) and LaVar Arrington (1998).
Before joining the Penn State staff, Sandusky served as an assistant football, basketball and track coach at Juniata College in 1967-68 and as offensive line coach at Boston University in 1968. He also was a Penn State graduate assistant in 1966, while working on his master’s degree.
A three-year Penn State letterman, he was a starting defensive end in 1963-65. Sandusky earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health and physical education in 1966 and 1970, respectively. He graduated first in his class and served as student Marshall for his college at commencement.
Sandusky recently was named an Alumni Fellow in the College of Health and Human Development in recognition of his career achievements. Since the program began in 1973, there have been approximately 300 such awards made University-wide. It is considered the highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Association.
A standout athlete at Washington (Pa.) High School, Sandusky was named Penn State’s defensive coordinator in 1977.
This summer, Sandusky was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, Washington-Greene Chapter.
In 1996, Sandusky was selected the Pennsylvania recipient of the SGMA Heroes Award, presented for “contributions to the pursuit of sports excellence, sportsmanship, participation or opportunity within their local community.” He was awarded the University’s Barash Human Service Award and the YMCA Service-To-Youth Award in 1995 and the Contribution to Amateur Football Award by the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
In 1993, Sandusky and his late father, Art, received the annual Human Rights Award presented by the Washington, Pa., branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Sandusky is married to the former Dorothy Gross of Chattanooga, Tenn. They have six children-five boys and a girl. Ray, Kara and E.J., the starting center for the 1992 Nittany Lions and head coach at Albright College, are Penn State graduates.
Sandusky is the author of “Developing Linebackers, The Penn State Way”. Proceeds of the book benefit The Second Mile.