SI Wire

Paterno biography: Penn State coach "sobbed uncontrollably" after firing

Joe Paterno "sobbed uncontrollably" the day after he was fired as the Penn State football coach, sportswriter Joe Posnanski's writes in new biography, Paterno. 

In its latest issue, GQ published an excerpt of the book, which is released next Tuesday. posted three short sections of that excerpt on its website Wednesday.

In one scene from the day after Paterno's firing, the coach is emotional.

On Thursday, Paterno met with his coaches at his house. He sobbed uncontrollably. This was his bad day. Later, one of his former captains, Brandon Short, stopped by the house. When Brandon asked, "How are you doing, Coach?" Paterno answered, "I'm okay," but the last syllable was shaky, muffled by crying, and then he broke down and said, "I don't know what I'm going to do with myself." Nobody knew how to handle such emotion. Joe had always seemed invulnerable. On Thursday, though, he cried continually.

"My name," he told Jay, "I have spent my whole life trying to make that name mean something. And now it's gone."

The timing of Posnanski's book has received criticism. The writer agreed to the biography before the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke.

That scandal has reshaped Paterno's legacy in the eyes of many. But despite the complexities that emerged as a result, the publisher moved the book's release date up from Father's Day 2013 to this August. The New York Times reported in July that plans for promoting the book had been changed.