The legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has not only lost his job this month, but has been diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer.
Paterno was fired by the university’s Board of Trustees earlier this month amid an ongoing investigation involving sexual child abuse. Paterno has received criticism for failing to report that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky allegedly sexually abused eight young boys.
On Friday, Paterno’s son, who remains a part of Penn State’s football staff, reported that his father had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
“Last week, my father was diagnosed with a treatable form of lung cancer during a follow-up visit for a bronchial illness,” said Paterno’s statement. “As everyone can appreciate, this is a deeply personal matter for my parents, and we simply ask that his privacy be respected as he proceeds with treatment.”
Paterno is expected to make a full recovery as he is currently undergoing treatment.
The firing of the 87-year-old coach sparked mixed reactions and is part of a “very unprecedented situation” according to Paterno’s replacement coach, Tom Bradley.
Bradley went on to say that he will “restore” the football program at Penn State University following the recent sex scandal, and described Paterno as having “meant more to me than anyone except for my own father.”
In Bradley’s press conference earlier this month he refused to comment on whether he knew anything about former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing children. The allegations have led to Sandusky’s arrest and 40 counts of sexual abuse charges.
“Due to the ongoing investigation, I’m not going to say anything about that matter,” said Bradley.
Considering the brevity of the ongoing investigation, the university administration is widely expected to clean out the entire coaching staff at the end of the season. Although Bradley’s position is impermanent and the allegations have yet to be clarified, he made a point to acknowledge the suspected victims and their families.
“I grieve for the victims, I grieve for the families,” said Bradley. “I’m deeply saddened by that. It’s with great emotion that I say that. The football part, we’ll get working on that right away.”
Bradley continued; “Right now, I think you should know where our team is through this whole issue, and it’s toward those children. It’s toward their families. Our thoughts and our prayers are with them.”