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Jay Paterno Pens Book, Shares Lessons Learned From His Dad

by on April 11, 2014 6:15 AM

Jay Paterno says there will be some stories you haven't heard in the book he's written about his late father, former Penn State Head Football Coach Joe Paterno.

The author wouldn't get into details but says he focused on a much more personal side, "There are a lot of things in there about football obviously, but there are a lot of lessons I learned from him as his son ... what kind of grandfather he was to my kids."

The younger Paterno, who was an assistant coach under his famous father, says he didn't want to rehash old stories and during the writing process was constantly asking himself whether his material was unique.

"There are some stories in there I've never shared with anybody," says Paterno. That includes intimate details about Joe Paterno's final days. "I think there are some stories about what happened on the field and off the field that people haven't heard before that they'll find really interesting," he adds.

The book is titled Paterno Legacy: Enduring Lessons from the Life and Death of My Father.  It's already available for pre-sale at online outlets such as and Even though the book won't actually be published until September it is already No. 1 on's Hot New Releases in Football.

Paterno started out planning to write a book about the events surrounding the Jerry Sandusky scandal but it turned into something more. "It went from a book that was just going to be about what happened here in November, 2011 into something more important," he says. The vast part is really the lessons that we learned, that so many people learned from Joe and the things that made him unique."

According to a sales blurb, the book is a biography of Joe Paterno. It says in part:

This paints a full picture of (Joe Paterno's) life and career as well as documenting that almost none of the horrific crimes that came to light in 2012 took place at Penn State. Noting that the scandal itself was but a short moment in Joe Paterno's life and legacy, the book focuses on Paterno's greatness as a father and grandfather, his actions as a miraculous coach to his players, and his skillful dealings with his assistant coaches.

"The thing that I take away from his life more so than anything," says Paterno, "This is a guy who genuinely loved the people he coached, he genuinely loved his family, genuinely loved the people he encountered in his life."

The book's forward is written by Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike Inc. and a Paterno family friend.

The publisher, Triumph Books, is based in Chicago and specializes in books on sports. The company says no decision has been made on how many copies will be printed. The book is projected to run between 288 and 320 pages.

"I think people will be surprised by some of his reasoning behind how he handled certain things with team discipline," says Paterno. "There will be some people who will be surprised as to how patient he was but also how much he enjoyed his job. People tend to look at him as really serious and very intense but he enjoyed the job so much."

But much of the book will focus on a son's relationship with his father.

"There's a chapter in the book called 'The Walk Home' and it talks about the things he and I talked about when we walked back after a game. ... There's a whole chapter on that, the things I learned on the walk home."

Editor's Note: Jay Paterno is a columnist for

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Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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