Former PSU coach Joe Paterno's pension valued at $13.4 million

Coach's widow due payment over 2 years


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During his 61 years coaching football at Penn State University, Joe Paterno earned a state pension that now totals $13.4 million, a family spokesman said Tuesday.

His widow, Sue, expects to receive an initial payment of $10.1 million by the end of this month, according to the family.

The remainder of the long-time head coach's pension will be paid out over the following two years.

Paterno died in January at age 85, months after being fired in the wake of the child sex abuse scandal that continues to surround his former assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky, and several Penn State administrators.

He joined the university in 1950 as an assistant football coach and spent nearly 46 years at the team's helm. In his final years, Paterno was receiving a compensation package of pay and benefits valued at more than $1 million.

Mr. Paterno had not accessed his pension when he passed away.

It was unclear Tuesday whether Paterno's pension would be the largest that the state has paid out, but the family's spokesman acknowledged that its size is larger than most.

"What's unusual in this case is the length of time that he worked, which was the equivalent of two full careers," said family spokesman Dan McGinn.

The pension value is based on a formula used by the State Employees Retirement System to calculate benefits for all public employees, which takes into account salary and years of employment.

As a staff member at the commonwealth's largest public university, Mr. Paterno was a member of the state's pension system.

A spokeswoman for the pension system, Pamela Hile, said she could not comment on a member's specific benefit amount until a payment is released.

When a member of the state pension system dies, family members can choose whether to receive the payable benefits in a lump sum, monthly payments or a combination.

Mr. McGinn said the family plans to donate $1 million of that pension sum to the Paterno Foundation, a new organization announced by the Paterno family in March.

Another $500,000 will be directed to the Catholic center on campus, which is named after Mrs. Paterno.

education - state - psusports

Harrisburg Bureau Chief Laura Olson: lolson@post-gazette.com or 717-787-4254. First Published May 23, 2012 4:00 AM


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