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New biography offers an inside look at Joe Paterno and family after his firing

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Gene J. Puskar/AP

(Read caption) Penn State president Graham Spanier (l.) reportedly encouraged Joe Paterno (r.) to step down as head football coach in 2004.

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The new biography “Paterno,” centering on the life of disgraced Penn State coach Joe Paterno, details the former coach’s reaction to being fired and how his family tried to handle the scandal, according to an excerpt which will be published in the September issue of GQ.

“Paterno” author Joe Posnanski had joined Paterno in the summer of 2011, planning to observe the coach – with Paterno’s permission – through the upcoming football season for the biography. As a result, he was on the scene when the Sandusky scandal broke. The book will be released next week.

One part of the excerpt describes Paterno the day after he was fired from his position as head coach of the Nittany Lions. According to the biography, he “sobbed uncontrollably.”

“My name,” he said to his son, Jay, according to Posnanski. “I have spent my whole life trying to make that name mean something. And now it's gone.”

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