Depending how things shake out, another Paterno could be in a position of power in the state of Pennsylvania.
Jay Paterno, son of legendary Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, confirmed to the Patriot-News Thursday that he intends to run for the position of lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania. The paper wrote that “[t]he confirmation came after Paterno said ‘someone found’ his unfinished campaign website Thursday morning and began sharing it.”
Paterno, provided he gets his name on the ballot as expected, will run as a Democrat in a field of six contenders. At the moment, Paterno, who has never held public office, said his focus is on getting on the ballot first, with a public campaign coming thereafter.
A Penn State assistant under his late father for 17 years, Paterno was not retained in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal that cost his father his longtime head-coaching job with the Nittany Lions in November of 2011. Rep. Governor Tom Corbett played a significant role in the elder Paterno’s ouster, but the younger Paterno said unseating the incumbent because of that role was not the driving force behind his candidacy.
“I’m running because I stand for something,” Jay Paterno said. “I’m not running against someone. I’m running because I stand for ideas, like education and creating jobs. I can’t make that any clearer. This is so much bigger than just one thing.”
Jay Paterno is part of a lawsuit the family filed against the NCAA seeking to have the sanctions levied against the Penn State football program nullified. The lawsuit claims in part that “a number of assistant coaches, including Jay Paterno, were victims of defamation and because of that have not been able to find a job coaching football.”
The sanctions also included stripping Joe Paterno of 111 wins from 1998-2011, the timeline which was established as the period in which Sandusky, then a PSU assistant and now a convicted felon, raped several young boys, including at least one in the shower of the program’s football building. At the time of his dismissal, Paterno was the winningest coach in FBS history; because of the sanctions, he now officially stands 12th.